James Johnson, Jr., Chair
 
900 North Ashley Drive
Tampa, Florida 33602
James Martin, Jr., Vice-Chair
William Scheuerle, Secretary
 
Phone: (813) 273-3660
Fax: (813) 273-3707

Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library Board

MINUTES FROM THE JULY 24, 1997 PUBLIC LIBRARY BOARD MEETING
JOHN F. GERMANY PUBLIC LIBRARY, 4-6PM

ATTENDANCE:

Library Board Members Present:
Kay O'Rourke, Chairman, Helen Swisshelm
Linda Arnold, Vice Chairman, Arnold Kotler
Sandra Cameron
Library Board Members Absent:
Nancy Crippen, Rosa Goldsmith
Gloria Abrams, Catherine Kelley
Elizabeth Blue

Library Staff:
Joe Stines, Director
Jeannie Fletcher, Administrative Assistant
David Wullschleger, Chief of Operations
Suzy George, Facilities Officer
Janet Lorenzo,
    - Chief of Community & Access Services
Special Guests:
Gene Boles,
    - Director of Planning & Growth Management
Lucia Garsys,
    - Capital Program Administrator

CALL TO ORDER:

Chairman O'Rourke called the meeting to order at 4:10pm. She began the meeting by calling attention to Article I, Sections 3-4 of the Bylaws which pertain to Library Board attendance. She suggested the use of a formal roll call at the beginning of each meeting during which the Chairman would announce the names of those wishing to be excused. After a vote, or by general consensus of the Board, excused absences would then be officially recorded. Arnold Kotler suggested that the Director write letters to each Board member to explain that this procedure would go into effect within 30 days. Joe agreed and said the matter could be discussed further at the next meeting. Helen Swisshelm commented that the bylaws should be followed so as to protect the interests of the Board.

APPROVAL OF THE JUNE 26, 1997 MINUTES:

Chairman O'Rourke called for corrections of the June 26th minutes. As there were none, the minutes were accepted as written.

PRESENTATIONS FROM SPECIAL GUESTS:

Kay O'Rourke introduced Gene Boles, the Director of Planning and Growth Management who was present to discuss planning issues. Joe began by explaining to Mr. Boles that the Library Board has had a Planning Committee for many years. He said they assisted with a Long-Range Plan that was mandated by the State Library, worked with the Performance Audit, and developed a Siting Document. He pointed out that this committee has been involved for many years in the siting of new facilities and the investigation of partnering opportunities.

Gene said the Planning and Growth Management Department is involved in the implementation of the County's long-range plan as developed by the Planning Commission. While the department engages in many kinds of hands-on processes, it also brings a sense of the future into day-to-day decisions. When decisions are made, they are done so with a sense of where the County is going rather than with the intention of finding an expedient solution to a problem. He explained that the Planning Department handles zoning reviews and develops regulations for building permits. Even more importantly, the department addresses priorities to see how the building of facilities relates to growth needs and the comprehensive plan. He offered the following observations which relate to Library Board planning activities:

1) The County's plan takes into consideration "urban service boundaries" to see where investments in urban services should be made. He defined "level of service" as the quality or dimension of service as dictated by the needs of a particular community. In a library setting, this might include the population being served, driving distance to the library, radius of the service area, etc.

2) There is a much greater interest in the sharing of facilities and/or land areas (e.g. libraries and schools)

3) The County is interested in "sustainable" communities--communities which balance economic prosperity, environmental integrity and value of community in a way that is mutually supporting. He said the Planning Committee should keep these planning trends in mind.

Joe pointed out that the Library Board is aware of these planning trends and has been incorporating them into their planning efforts. He sited several examples of shared resources and pointed out that the Planning Committee considers distance and driving time when planning for urban and rural libraries respectively. Even the buying of books relates to the issue of sustainable communities.

Joe pointed out that libraries are not listed by name as organizations which can benefit from land donated by developers through DRI's. He asked if this would be possible. Gene responded that there is no reason that libraries could not be considered especially if a plan is in place. He stressed that a plan needs to be formulated as it advances the process considerably. Joe said that a motion had been made at the last Library Board meeting to ask for a liaison from Planning & Growth Management. Gene said Janet Austin would be glad to serve in that capacity. He also suggested using the Planning Commission's population projections to site new facilities.

Lucia Garsys said she would like to emphasize that planning is essential. She explained that her office was established as an interface between the planning process, budget process and building process. Since the CIT passed, her office has been involved in seeing that Community Investment Tax projects get implemented. She said the Library will receive $1.5 million over the next 6 years. Stressing the importance of planning, she said that, as late as August 29th, there was little expectation that the CIT was going to pass. When it did pass on September 3, the County was prepared with a list of needs. The list became the planning component for projects to be funded with CIT monies; those projects not already articulated were not funded. She said the next phase will look beyond the six-year horizon.

Lucia said that maintenance projects need to be planned for along with new facilities. She said administration is keenly aware of the need for maintenance and rehab projects and encouraged the Library Board to keep maintenance issues in the forefront of the planning process. She also stressed that the County is interested in receiving citizen input regarding needs and potential projects for the next several years of the CIT. She passed out a timeline for the next year through which information will be obtained and a list of unfunded needs will be compiled. Helen Swisshelm asked when the CIT funding would begin and Lucia responded "FY97." The second year will begin Oct.1, 1998. The year 2003 will be fiscal year #7 and begins the period of unfunded CIT projects.

Helen asked what dollar amount would be included in the next several years of the CIT. Lucia responded that the Board has not made a decision to allocate a portion for any particular programs. Much will depend on revenues; however, it expected that the CIT will bring in approximately $25 million per year.

Helen pointed out that a new library costs in the neighborhood of $5 million to build and asked if it would be unrealistic to think that some of the monies could be obtained from the CIT. Lucia responded that it would depend on what other projects are in the pool. She said such needs should be submitted, however. Gene Boles confirmed this and said it is a mistake to calculate the resources and then make the plan. He pointed out that the CIT is only one funding source and stressed that it is better to consider the need and then look for the funding. He encouraged the Library Board to identify needs, add them to the Unfunded CIP list and then argue for priorities. He added that it essential to visualize communities and service areas as mature areas to see if facilities will serve the purpose in the years ahead.

Joe asked Lucia whether funding for a south county regional library would be given priority on the CIT list since it already has some funding in the first 6 years. She said this would be likely. Joe also asked if it would be likely that existing facilities would be more likely to be funded for expansion especially if activity levels keep increasing. Lucia said "yes because there is a cost-efficiency in doing that."

Arnold Kotler asked about the purpose of future community meetings. Lucia responded that they would deal with needs in years 7-12 of the CIT, i.e., beyond the year 2003. Joe explained that the $1.5 million designated for libraries in the first six years includes the following:

  • ADA improvements for Thonotosassa, Brandon and Peninsular
  • work on West Tampa to secure basement
  • Roofs for Seminole, Lutz and West Gate
  • A.C. systems for North Tampa and Ybor
  • $500,000 for Phase I of a south county regional library
  • West Tampa renovation
  • Carpet replacements for Riverview and Ruskin
The only new project is partial funding for a south county regional library. He added that only three items on the unfunded CIP list were not added: replacement elevators for John F. Germany Public Library, fascia for John F. Germany Public Library, total renovation/repair of John F. Germany Public Library.

Lucia commented that the strategy had been to get as many community projects as possible on the CIT list so as to affect as many people as possible. Arnold Kotler noted that the first six years of the CIT addresses only patchwork maintenance items rather than new items and added that this didn't fit in with his understanding of the word "investment." Lucia agreed and said the County's investment at this point in time is to maintain the facilities it has.

Referring to the concept of planning, Arnold said that, when new schools open, they are already overcrowded. He commented that planning does not always anticipate growth or needs. Gene Boles said State law dictates that schools cannot be built until the students are there. In other words, they cannot plan ahead by providing surplus space. He said the policy does create problems; conversely, he said sometimes school district boundaries have to be shifted to fill schools up.

Dora Reeder asked if the community meetings would be open to the public and Lucia said "yes." She added that the fall meetings would be advertised. She said there should be 6-7 meetings throughout the county. Gene Boles said there is a movement toward making community-based decisions. Government is moving out into the communities rather than expecting people to come to County Center to voice their concerns.

Helen Swisshelm asked for clarification on the amount of money allocated to the County in each year of the CIT. Lucia responded that the County's allocation is $25 million per year. Helen commented that the total would be $150 million over the six-year period and noted that the Library's $1.5 million is not a lot of money for a system as large as THPL. Gene Boles pointed out that $1.5 million is not a lot of money; however, the CIT is only one funding source. If a department has other funding sources besides the CIT, this will be taken into consideration. He agreed that if the library hadn't had the .1 mill, the point could be well argued.

Arnold Kotler pointed out that the .1 mill cannot be counted on. Joe said there was no time limit on the levy; however, it is unlikely that it would be rolled back since operation of the three new libraries depends upon the .1 millage.

Kay O'Rourke thanked Gene and Lucia for coming. Lucia suggested that the Library Board members watch for community meeting announcements.

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

Planning Committee:

Joe said the Planning Committee had not met again and asked if he could distribute some handouts. He provided copies of the most current unfunded CIP list that had been sent to Lucia Garsys and said these needs would be discussed in the upcoming community meetings. Joe reiterated that the best hope of getting the library's needs funded is through years 2003-2004 of the CIT unless grant funds can be obtained or the BOCC votes to increase the millage. Helen pointed out that the Library Board has already done its planning; the concern now is funding.

Joe also handed out Library Board attendance sheets, an article on expansion of Lutz, West Gate and North Tampa, a Performance Audit Summary and an article on Eastlake Square Mall. He noted that JC Penny will close its store at Eastlake this fall as part of a plan to convert the mall into an office complex. He said this would affect the Eastlake Library. The mall will be going in a new direction by attracting telemarketing companies, and offering office space. Retail stores will be moving out and the complex would then become a "nine to five" operation. Joe said this would raise more security issues for the library there. Joe said Rosa Goldsmith agreed to speak to Commissioner Scott about the matter. He also suggested that a Planning Committee meeting should be held before the next Library Board meeting to discuss Eastlake. He noted that Eastlake's current lease expires in June of 1998. Eastlake's statistics continue to decline.

Joe said that the Egypt Lake summer program was a success. There was excellent media coverage of the partnership. He passed around pictures of the Mayor and Commissioner Chillura reading stories to the children. Joe said the programs attracted a lot of people. He said he would provide more details when the statistics are analyzed.

Joe drew attention to a memo from Commissioner Chillura proposing that the County deed the Brandon Library to Center Place and build a new Brandon Library with CIT monies. Sandra Cameron asked if it would be funded in the current six years or later in the CIT. Joe said it would be possible to use CIT funds in the first six years since the amount of money coming in should exceed the amount being allotted for projects. However, any decision to give away Brandon Regional Library would require four votes from the BOCC. He said the Planning Committee would need to discuss the issue in the near future in the event that the BOCC would like a recommendation from the Library Board.

Linda Arnold asked if the lease prohibits selling the building. Joe said he didn't think so. However, any decisions would require the consent of all parties involved. Linda said that the partnership with Center Place is working and is worth preserving. Joe agreed and said it remains ideal for future grant opportunities.

Budget Committee:

Joe said Kay O'Rourke had given a very nice presentation to the BOCC during the budget hearings. She made three points: 1) to thank the BOCC for their continued support of the Library 2) to offer support for Mr. Kleman's emphasis on maintenance 3) to let the BOCC know that the Library Board has identified further needs should funds become available. Joe said the Friends of the Library would speak to the BOCC on 7/30.

Public Art:

Helen Swisshelm reported that the Public Art Committee for Port Tampa met on 7/18 and many interesting people attended. There is approximately $7,000 for public art. The citizens would like it to be traditional. They prefer to have the artwork on the exterior because they feel the interior speaks for itself. Helen said nothing was decided as it was simply an orientation meeting.

Internet Use Subcommittee:

The Internet Use Subcommittee met on 7/18. Joe said the entire meeting was consumed with an examination of filtering software. Susan Oliver, who has been participating in a national research effort, discussed her findings. No decisions were made; however, recommendations should be brought to the Board in August. Joe said one other option is being looked at. It involves the use of the patron's library card to gain access to Internet machines.

DIRECTOR'S REPORT:

Joe asked for questions regarding the report that had been mailed. As there were none, the meeting continued with New Business.

NEW BUSINESS:

Nominating Committee for Library Board Officers:

Kay O'Rourke asked Helen Swisshelm, Rosa Goldsmith and Dora Reeder to serve on the committee. Helen said she would arrange a meeting and added that a chairman would be chosen at the first meeting. Nominations will be brought to the August Library Board meeting.

Joe congratulated Sandra Cameron, Elizabeth Blue and Kay O'Rourke for being re-appointed to the Board. He said Fred Hearns would be taking Sonja Garcia's place. Sonja will serve as a liaison for the Internet Use Subcommittee after this request is approved by the BOCC in August.

Kay O'Rourke asked that the orientation be reinstated. Joe said he would be glad to offer an orientation to new and returning Board members.

ADJOURNMENT

The meeting was adjourned at 6:00pm

Next Library Board Meeting:
         Date: August 28, 1997
         Time: 4pm-6pm
         Location: 78th Street Community Library

                 - Unless notified otherwise


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