It has been 17 years and 306 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.
PLEASE NOTE: Today, November 3, 2015 the voters of the Sahuaro district will decide to retain or recall current Councilmember Gary Sherwood. They have already submitted their Early Ballots. If for some reason you still have your Early Ballot you can drop off your completed ballot at any Sahuaro polling location today. Sahuaro district voters do have a choice. They can keep the same representative or opt for change by voting for Ray Malnar. Mr. Malnar is a man of honesty and character whose agenda is to serve the residents of his district in a fiscally conservative and meaningful manner. If the poll to the left of this column is any indication tonight when the votes are tallied the people of the Sahuaro district will have a new councilmember. It may be premature but congratulations to our newest councilmember, Ray Malnar.
How come the city has the capacity to use General Obligation (GO) bond funding (paid by sales tax dollars that flow into the city’s General Fund) to cover $22.3 million dollars to buy 99 acres from the Pendergast family to be used, in part, to satisfy the Bidwill’s and Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority’s requirement for parking for football games yet has no money to construct a West Branch Library? According to Erik Strunk, Director of Parks, Recreation and Library Services, “There are currently no general fund monies available for enhanced library services in this area. Again, the only money we know of that’s available right now is the $2.5 million in development impacts fee money.”
Isn’t it amazing? The city has the opportunity to buy land and voila! There’s money to pay off those GO bonds but to build a library, there’s no money…that is a lot of b_ll s__t. Remember in 2006 a majority of city council stole $6 million earmarked for construction of the West Branch Library and diverted it to construction of the Public Safety Training Facility.
This is but one example of the city playing games with money slated for construction of the West Branch library.
- Fact: Glendale voters approved $9.7 million in March of 1987. There is still $1.7 million in library capacity from that approval.
- Fact: Glendale voters approved $411 million in November of 1999. There is still $7.47 million in library capacity from that approval.
- Fact: Glendale voters approved $270 million in May of 2007. There is still $12.37 million in library capacity from that approval.
- Fact: Right now, this very minute, there is over $20 million in bond capacity to build a West Branch Library.
At the September 16, 2008 city council workshop meeting the scheduled completion of the library was 2009 and staff said, “by 2010 the West Branch Library will serve a population of approximately 50,000 in the western area of Glendale, and it is anticipated that more than 1,000 people per day will utilize the services of this branch.”
Residents of west Glendale need to thank Mayor Weiers for asking staff to “refocus” on the promises made regarding what is now called Heroes Park at the northeast corner of Bethany Home Road and 83rd Avenue. We residents appreciate his concern but after waiting 17 years to see this park developed the only action that will suffice is to see dollars being spent.
So they throw us a bone and think that will keep us quiet. Their sop is to install a prefab building, a glorified trailer of about 7,500 square feet in Heroes Park. It will be smaller than Velma Teague Library and smaller than Foothills Library. Gee, aren’t we lucky? Now we will be required to be appropriately grateful.
In the 1975 film classic Network the news anchor Howard Beale stridently bellowed, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”
17 years is a long time to wait for this city make good on its promises. The residents of west Glendale are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. If the mayor and certain councilmembers want our votes they are going to have to deliver.
© Joyce Clark, 2015
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