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An Open House has been scheduled for July 8 to gather ideas from the public on how the city could make use of the Library building. The Open House will begin at 6PM in the Library.

That decision was made by the City Council at its June 17 meeting after another round of discussion on whether or not the city should consider buying the Library building which is immediately adjacent and connected to City Hall and the Salmon Valley Center.

During the financial portion of the discussion City Finance Director Amy Fealko confirmed that the city does have enough money in the Contingency Fund to make the purchase if it wants to use those funds for that purpose. There is agreement among the council that it would be nice to have the building but no one has any idea of what its use would be.

Councilman Fred Waidely is one who adamantly opposes the thought of raising taxes for a building the city doesn’t need.

Salmon Public Library Association Board representative Ann Loucks would also not like to see a tax increase related to the acquisition nor would she like to see it sold to a commercial enterprise. She reiterated the board’s desire to work with the city to avoid those possibilities.

Loucks refuted the building’s being referred to as “an albatross” saying it is in extraordinarily good condition with its new roof and the $100,000 in improvements over the last five years.

The latest purchase price offered to the city is $265,000 and Loucks said the board would take $35,000 down which would relieve the Library Board from having to secure a loan. She said the yearly payments could be spread over a long time.

The city has until November to decide on a purchase and the council is wanting to reach a decision before that date so, if the answer is no, the Library Board can move forward with the selling process which would still involve the city. The board’s vote to give the city until November to make a decision was not a unanimous one. Board member Kay McAtee said she was against the extension since if it hadn’t been given the building would be on the market by now. She also said in her opinion the Police Department should occupy the building.

So far the council has ruled out moving the department based among other things on lack of parking and expenses related to a relocation.

The land under the building belongs to the city and if the city doesn’t buy the building the city would have to pay for an appraisal on the land and the two entities would have to decide what to do about a connecting wall and shared utilities. According to comments received from the public as well as the council, everyone’s ideal solution envisions it remaining a municipal property and most would like to see the museum expand into the Library Building and perhaps share it with the city. The vision does not include how that would work financially for either party.

Councilman Jim Baker said city ownership would mean continuous costs and Councilman Rob Jackson suggested a list of those costs should be presented at the Open House.

The dilemma keeps coming back to what use could be made of the building if the city purchased it and the council is seeking ideas from the public. The think-tank Open House will begin at 6PM July 8 in the Library Building.
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