WALLA WALLA — In an unannounced move, the City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to allow county resident to buy city library cards starting next year.
The cards will cost $68 per household.
All Council members were present when they approved the sale of non-resident cards, thus solving a problem facing Walla Walla Pulbic Library card holders who live outside the city limits.
That problem came from the termination of future contractual agreements between the Walla Walla County Rural Library District and the city, in which the city has traditionally been paid by the district to provide cards for county residents.
Over the years, the two agencies have debated over what would be a fair payment.
Then this spring, at a joint meeting between representatives of both agencies, no solution to the dispute was reached and officials with both agencies agreed to end the yearly contracts and develop strategic plans independently.
With no contract, county residents faced losing their city library card privileges Jan. 1.
Last night’s decision by the Council will allow county resident to buy a card.
The details of how the program will work were not discussed.
Council Member Jerry Cummins, who sits on the city’s finance committee, said committee members had received a number of requests asking them to develop a non-resident library card fee.
Cummins said the committee determined the per-capita rate based on 32,500 residents came to $25 per person, and that averaged out to $68 per household.
The question remains is whether the RLD reimburse its taxing-district members who buy Walla Walla library cards.
In an email to the Union-Bulletin this morning, Rural Library District Director Aletha Bonebrake said, “Our board was asked this question at our budget hearing and there was indication that the idea of some reimbursement toward library cards purchased by our district taxpayers at the Walla Walla Public Library would be considered. I understand the fee was changed just last night (Wednesday) and our next meeting is on Dec. 10. The board may choose to discuss it at that time.”