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September 24, 2018

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CITY OF SOUTH BEND - COUNCIL MEETING - September 24, 2018

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1-2. CALL TO ORDER AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

The council meeting was called to order by Mayor Struck at 5:30 pm followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. Members present: Councilor Buchanan, Councilor Williams, Councilor Neve, Councilor Davis, Councilor Little, Police Chief Eastham, City Supervisor Houk and Clerk/Treasurer Roberts.

3. APPROVAL OF AGENDA, CONSENT AGENDA, AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES

A motion was made by Councilor Neve to approve the Agenda, Consent Agenda and the minutes of the September 10, 2018 regular meeting. The motion was seconded by Councilor Williams. Vote: Ayes-5, Noes-0, Absent-0

Vendors – Check #44400 thru Check #44435 - $45,659.64

4. CORRESPONDENCE

Mayor Struck read an email from Citizen Elizabeth Penoyar and letter from Citizen Sandy Moser expressing their concern over the closure of the South Bend Timberland Regional Library and why the library is so important. Mayor Struck read each correspondence in full for the record.

5. TIMBERLAND REGIONAL LIBRARY – ALLISON GRUBBS & ERIC LOWELL

Allison Grubbs, Public Services Manager; Sarah Ogden, District Manager and Eric Lowell, Finance and Business Manager of the Timberland Regional Library (TRL) were present to update the council on the recent emergency closure of the South Bend Timberland Regional Library. Ms. Grubbs spoke for the group explaining that unfortunately they did not have the final report from the Department of Labor & Industries (L & I) regarding the environmental assessment of the building. TRL has been advised verbally by L & I that the building does contain lead paint, asbestos and mold however the mold is not black mold which was a big concern. Ms. Grubbs also provided the council with a timeline of events which began in January 2018 that led up to the emergency closure of the library. When the final report is received from L & I TRL plans to hold a town hall meeting to allow all of the citizens to come and express their concerns, thoughts and ideas about the South Bend library.

Mayor Struck pointed to some information that she had documented on the white board in the council chambers for reference:

  1. Structural Assessment - $100,000
  2. Environment Assessment – In Progress
    (lead, asbestos, mold)
  3. Potential Funding:
    1. Grants
    2. Legislative Appropriation
    3. Private Funding
    4. Voter Approved Levy
    5. Bond

Mayor Struck then explained that it is ultimately up to TRL if the library is to remain in South Bend. She also pointed out that putting together a funding package to repair the building will take time. Right now there is no way to know how much or what a total project would even look like. Until that is known an entity cannot even start looking for funding. This will be a time intensive process and it is not unrealistic to think that this could easily take up to two years to put together especially since this building is on the historical register which will require additional steps and costs for repair.

Councilor Buchanan noted that lead was in paint before 1984. Ideas? Ms. Grubbs advised that because the official report is not back from L & I they have no information other than what they have already shared.

Councilor Davis asked if TRL plans to permanently close the library and Ms. Grubbs advised that no there are no plans yet, but TRL is looking at costs across TRL as a whole. Councilor Davis asked if the personnel would stay and she was advised that yes, they would. Councilor Davis asked if Ms. Grubbs would provide the council with the costs associated with the South Bend library and Mr. Lowell said he would provide that to the council. Councilor Neve also pointed out the historical register issue and the additional regulations associated with that designation. Mayor Struck reiterated that it slows down the process and increases costs. Councilor Buchanan noted that he has looked at the TRL budget and was wondering if this was a sudden decision? Ms. Grubbs explained how the rolls and responsibilities worked for buildings that are owned by other entities – those entities are responsible for the maintenance and custodial services of the building. She noted that the Naselle library is owned by TRL. Councilor Davis asked how long the library might be closed and if a place could be found temporarily could it be reopened elsewhere? Ms. Grubbs advised that decision would be up to the TRL Board. Councilor Little mentioned that in 2001 during a city budget crisis that the building was offered to TRL for purchase. Why doesn’t TRL purchase it now? Would TRL be willing to discuss it? Ms. Grubbs noted that it could be discussed but purchasing the building would be very unlikely at this time especially based on the information that TRL has about the building. Mr. Lowell also spoke up saying that taking on this building is more than likely not going to happen. Councilor Williams asked if there as a timeline for a decision and Ms. Grubbs said that there is not a timeline because they don’t have all of the information they need yet and TRL is still evaluating the overall library services in this area. It will ultimately be a board decision. Councilor Buchanan pointed out that everyone that works at the South Bend library has done a good job down here. Ms. Grubbs noted that she couldn’t agree more. The staff in South Bend is #1. Mayor Struck agreed and noted that Jenny Penoyar has done a wonderful job! In closing Ms. Grubbs explained that they wanted to honor their agreement to come down and speak with the council even though they didn’t have as much information as they had hoped to have. Councilor Neve asked if they still planned on having a town hall meeting and she was advised that yes, down the road one will be scheduled. Councilor Neve asked about the information that had been circulating about the closure of the library in Randle and Ms. Grubbs again pointed out that would be a TRL board decision and of now there has been no decision.

6. ITEMS FROM THE PUBLIC

The following citizens spoke regarding the emergency closure of the South Bend Timberland Regional Library (following their name and address is a brief recap of their 3 minute statement):

Claire Wolfe, 721 Pacific – the library is the soul of the town; Bob Hall, 309 N Harrison & a TRL Trustee – refuted some misinformation regarding the library closure that had been circulating on Facebook; Carole Watson, TRL Retiree – bookmobile wasn’t successful years ago and Lacey/Olympia & Olympia/Tumwater have full service library’s 5 miles apart [TRL’s potential reason for closing the South Bend Library & merging Raymond and South Bend libraries together-they are five miles apart]; Sandy Harris, 515 Pacific – the city needs to take care of the building so the library can return to it; Jerry Porter, 1815 Garfield (Raymond) – uses both libraries and he encouraged the city and TRL to work together to keep them open; Dennis LeMaster – he came to complain, but he learned something; Lisa Barile, 6666 US Highway 101 – five miles would be a hardship for many people as there are those that use the library that don’t or can’t drive as well as school children that rely on the library every day; Linda Buchanan, 212 S Jackson – she used it all of the time when she taught school, the library is very important; Reggie Phillip, 315 W First St – when her and her partner retired here the library was where they first felt safe and at home; Chris Thompson, 211 S Jackson – it is budget time, create a fund for maintenance for the library; Diantha Weilepp, 724 E Water – she presented Mayor Struck with 135 signatures supporting the library (117 South Bend, 14 Raymond, 4 Bay Center) as well as multiple printouts of various potential funding/grant organizations. She restated her desire to keep the library open; Jana Johnson, 302 “C” Street – lots of people love the library. She understands they are a financial drain, but it would be a loss of a community service and as an investor in this community she does not want to see that happen; Kate O’Neal, 806 W First Street – she moved a lot as a child/teenager and everything was always strange, but the libraries. That is where she has always felt safe; Bruce Weilepp, 724 E Water – libraries make our country great. We need to keep it open; Rebecca Chaffee 10 Washington Cemetery Road (Raymond) – it is very difficult to get services back once a city loses them; Karen Tully, 852 Fowler Street (Raymond) – as an author the libraries were instrumental in helping her get her books noticed and they supported her with book readings, signings and publications. She also supports the youth programs at both libraries; Joelle Springer, 829 Minnesota – please tell us what we, the citizens, need to do to make it appealing to TRL to stay; Helaina Kennedy, 509 Pine Street – many might not realize that WorkSource has closed and the library has taken on those services. People now rely on the library to look for work and apply for jobs. They need to have that resource.

Mayor Struck thanked everyone for coming. She appreciated those that shared their personal stories about how the library has impacted their lives and for speaking so passionately about why the South Bend library is important to the community.

7. DEPARTMENT HEAD REPORTS
  • City Supervisor Houk explained that the crew has been doing some drainage work on Harrison Avenue between Broadway and Water Street to try and alleviate some drainage problems in that area.
  • City Supervisor Houk also noted that the crew has been doing some jetting of cross culverts and culverts before the rains start.
8. MAYOR’S REPORT

Mayor Struck announced that the city has received notification that they have been awarded a Community Development Block Grant for $710,650 for the 4th Street Reconstruction Project. It will rebuild the roadway on 4th Street between Pacific Avenue and Willapa Avenue. This project components include: Reconstruction of approximately 680 lineal feet of roadway rebuild, construction of a sidewalk on one side of the roadway, construct limited storm water improvements, install approximately 680 lineal feet of 8” PVC water main and the installation of two new fire hydrants.

9. COUNCIL COMMENTS
  • Councilor Buchanan explained that he grew up with the library and with budget priorities the city can afford it and he hoped that the town would step up and help do some of the work that needs to be done. Mayor Struck yet again pointed out that as a historical building there are a great deal of restrictions and anything that is done to this building must be approved first. Plus any abatement in the building must be done by a certified contractor who specializes in those types of abatements i.e. asbestos removal, lead paint removal, etc.
  • Councilor Williams noted that no one wants to lose the library and everyone on the council will work hard to keep it.
  • Councilor Neve agreed with Councilor Williams pointing out that she grew up in libraries. She also doesn’t believe that a single councilor wants to see the library close.
  • Councilor Davis mentioned that her first job was at the library. Councilor Davis thinks the city needs to do whatever they need to do as long as TRL will have us. Again, Mayor Struck noted that TRL provides the services, the final decision is theirs.
  • Councilor Little agreed with the rest of his fellow councilors that the library is a huge priority. The will is there, now to find a way.
  • Councilor Little asked City Supervisor Houk if there will be a lapse in the work that is going on above him as there is a great deal of heavy truck traffic on the road in front of his house (636 E Water) and with the rainy season coming he isn’t sure if the road will stand up to that kind of weight. City Supervisor Houk advised him that, as of now, all of the truck traffic is done up there.
10. ADJOURNMENT

The meeting was adjourned at 6:32 PM to meet again at 5:30 PM on Monday, October 8, 2018 for the next regularly scheduled meeting at South Bend City Hall.

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