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Library proposes $13 million expansion, $200,000 study

February 08, 2006|by TARA REILLY

HAGERSTOWN

tarar@herald-mail.com

Washington County Free Library's proposal for a $13 million renovation and expansion has the County Commissioners wondering who's going to pay for it.

"Is the county paying for all of that?" Commissioner John C. Munson said Tuesday during a commissioners meeting.

"There's no way we can afford $13 million for that," Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said.

The proposed expansion of the library's main branch on South Potomac Street in Hagerstown came up while the commissioners reviewed the county's draft Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for fiscal years 2007 to 2012.

The project would increase the library's usable space from 38,000 square feet to 65,000 square feet, according to the CIP.

"The library needs space for more materials, technology and programming," the CIP states.

The library budgeted $200,000 for fiscal year 2007 for a feasibility study for the proposed expansion. Of that amount, $176,250 would come from the portion of the county's excise tax for libraries and $23,750 from the county's general fund, according to the CIP.

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No financial requests are listed beyond fiscal year 2007, which prompted Commissioners Vice President William J. Wivell to question whether that was smart budgeting.

Wivell said if the expansion project doesn't happen, "to me that would just be wasted money ..."

Munson said he agreed.

Washington County Budget and Finance Director Debra Murray said library officials likely would come back next year with financial requests for the project over the next several years.

Library Director Mary Baykan was out of the office Tuesday and could not be reached for comment.

The commissioners are planning to meet with library officials March 7 for a budget presentation, Public Works Director Gary Rohrer said.

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