Library Committee Backs Fall Funding Vote


Plans are moving along for the new public library at Rumsey Park and members of the library project's policy committee are hoping they meet with the approval of the voters in November.

That's when the committee hopes to put the question to Payson residents on the ratification of a $2-million general obligation bond (GOB) for construction of the library.

Library Friends president Judy Buettner, a member of the Library Project Policy Committee along with Dave Ricker, John Wilson, Mayor Vern Stiffler, Vice Mayor Ray Schum and council member Jim Spencer, said the GOB has the backing of the committee. "The GOB would be really great because it wouldn't necessarily have to affect taxes at all," she said.

Town Manager Rich Underkofler said that without the voters' support, the town could obtain certificates of participation or municipal property corporate bonds that would cost the town 2 percent more in interest payments than voter-ratified bonds.

Meanwhile, back at the Payson Public Library on Main Street Wednesday, the Library Project Policy Committee went over an 18-page document for the new 25,000-square-foot library with architect Larry Enyart. The library would be built in two phases, starting with a 15,000-square-foot structure that could be expanded.

The committee asked for a larger multi-purpose room and a decrease in the amount of space planned for reading areas.

"We went room by room, going over the details of each area," said Buettner.

The committee advised the architect to go forward with construction plans for the new library at Rumsey Park. The meeting included representatives from the Payson Genealogy Society and Rim Country Literacy.

"It was constructive and we all felt good about working together," Buettner said. "The Genealogy Society has their own place now, but they could, in the future, have a need for another space."

The society now has a 15-year lease on some property owned by Manzanita Manor, and a pledge from a donor to construct a building. Plans for the second phase of construction of the Payson Public Library will include room for the group.

But the first phase of construction of the library will have room for the literacy group, Buettner said. Plans include privacy for the group's clients, storage space and work study tables, a computer station, and a place for one-on-one tutoring.

Underkofler said Gila County judges had expressed an interest in having a law library included in construction but did not attend Wednesday's meeting.

Underkofler said he thought the county had no interest in a second law library outside of Globe because of the high cost of maintenance.

Buettner said construction should start in March or April 2000.

The Town of Payson has set aside $200,000 in this year's budget for architectural costs for the library.

The total cost of construction is expected to come in at around $2 million, Underkofler said, but the figure is not a firm one.

"Right now, the goal is to bring in the first phase of construction at about 15,000 (square) feet," Underkofler said. "The plan is for expanding to 25,000 ultimately.

"Some are arguing that the council should incur a debt. With the police and fire stations, we can't do this one, too.

"The answer is, we just don't have enough money to do everything at once. This council is determined that police and fire has priority over the library."

Plans for the library are expected to be completed this summer, in time for the public to have enough information to make a decision in November on whether to ratify a general obligation bond.

The revised plans could go before the committee and be approved by the Town Council some time in March.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.