$18 Million Bond for Library Expansion Heading To The Ballot
City Council members unanimously approved a resolution that will place an $18 million referendum on the November ballot. The vote came the same day voters rejected a $65 million school expansion bond.
Ames residents will decide in November whether they would support a $20 million Public Library expansion project.
City Council unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday requesting an $18 million general obligation bond be placed on the ballot. Voters resoundingly rejected a school expansion bond referendum as part of school board elections the same day.
Before saying "yes" City Councilman Jeremy Davis asked that Library Board of Trustees to raise as much money privately as possible.
“I hope that the board continues to actively fundraise and even though the talk last time was $2 million if you guys can keep working past that goal the more you can do privately the happier it's going to be for me,” Davis said.
The library bond was one of several items on Tuesday's agenda. City Council also discussed a multi-million dollar hospital expansion project and a new city tagline and logo.
Originally the Library Board of Trustees had hoped to obtain $5 million in grants and gifts, but feared it a lofty goal in the current economy. Trustees already have $1.3 million in commitments. Any funds raised in excess of $2 million would be used to reduce the amount bonded.
Ames Public Library Director Art Weeks said he thought that the board would surpass the $2 million fundraising mark.
“We are getting pledges every day,” Weeks said.
The plan calls for expanding the current library from 48,000 to 77,000 square feet, while leaving the building's 1904 core intact. The library's last addition came 26 years ago and was projected to last 15 to 20 years. An $18 million general obligation bond is expected to increase the tax rate by 61 cents per $1,000 assessed taxable valuation.