Spend library cash carefully

Any public entity that has several million dollars tucked away is a rarity now. It shouldn’t hoard the cash, but it should proceed cautiously.

We’re pleased to see the Mesa County Public Library District is moving cautiously on how to spend $6 million in capital funds it has accumulated in recent years.

It’s also welcome news that members of the library district board aren’t contemplating asking voters once again for a mill levy increase. The Daily Sentinel supported ballot proposals in 2004 and 2005 that would have raised property taxes to construct a new central library in Grand Junction, but we believe any similar proposal now would be an economic and political mistake.

The capital plans being discussed include possible remodeling and expansion of the central library, replacing the branch library in Palisade, opening a new branch to serve the Redlands and north Grand Junction, or some combination of them all.

Improving access to library services in outlying areas is a sensible idea. A proposal for expansion of the central library, which was just remodeled three years ago, must be considered carefully, especially when a multi-agency plan for redeveloping the area around the library remains a near-term possibility. However, it’s also true that construction and property costs are low now.

The library district may not be able to do everything it wants, but it is in the enviable position of having money to accomplish a great deal if it spends cautiously.


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