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Library district discussion up now. There will be a bit of refresh, since this council is new to this.
A district can be formed in two ways: By city and county (existing governments) or by ballot via resident petition

District by ordinance: City council and county commissioners hold public hearings, pass ordinance dependent on funding tax being supported by voters
City, county would form IGA to figure out property, employees, etc.
District by petition: Only 100 signatures needed to place on ballot (from the packet)
The Library Champions put in a petition for the 2019 election, but the city asked that it be withdrawn so that council could discuss it.

That's what brings us here tonight.
No matter how the district is formed (if it is) existing Boulder Public Library assets can be deeded or leased to the new district, which is a new gov't entity.
Assets include:
Main Library: $24.073M
George Reynolds Branch Library: $3.3832M
Carnegie Library for Local History: $1.5349M and upcoming North Boulder branch library, book and media collections; computer, business, and materials handling equipment; furnishings and fixtures
Here's a handy timeline of both of those approaches:
We're breaking for some council qs. Yates starts: If a petition is delivered to the county, cities that are affected have a choice of passing the resolution, submitting a question of establishment for a vote, or opting out? Correct?
Yes, assistant city attorney David Gehr says.
Weaver: The vote that would be held would be within the boundaries established by the petitioners?
Yes, Gehr says.
We're getting really into the weeds here, on something I felt was pretty straightforward until ppl started asking questions.
Yates: So city and county could fund the district for awhile and then go to voters for a tax whenever they want?
Yes, is the answer.
Wallach: Is there a process to work out the IGA before we go to voters? "I'm a little uncomfortable going to our voters and not being able to inform them about everything we're asking them to approve."
That's why it's recommended to establish a district by resolution, a consultant whose name I don't know says.
I know he's been here before but I don't remember who he is. A library law expert, which sounds incredibly.... specific.
Sam at the Camera and I *think* it's Kim Seter. So let's go with that for now.
Wallach: What can go wrong? And what can be done about it when it does? What's the downside?
Seter: "They've actually been very positive. All of them have turned out wonderfully so far."
The places I've feared things would go wrong are situations like yours, when you have an established library and someone says we're not going to share our assets. "That has never happened," Seter says.
Wallach: Could library district mortgage out buildings for funding, if those assets are transferred to them?
No, Seter says. There are restrictions. In Adams County, there was an agreement that if district did something county didn't like, it could take the buildings back.
Buildings can also be leased.
Young q: Could we turn over the building but not the land?
Yes, Seter says. "It would get complicated" ... you'd have to figure out how to "unwind" the building if the city wants to do something different with the land. "But it can be done."
OK, some clarity on the process. If a petition lands with BoCo, the county can either start a formation by resolution or kick it to voters. Boulder can opt into the resolution formation, or opt out.
So really, there are options for the city/county doing it themselves through the petition process OR outside of it.
This is all so clear when I read it. Then council starts asking questions and I get befuddled.
Many 'what if's being brought up.
Sticking point seems to be that the decision to form a district comes BEFORE all the details are hashed out. Might make it a hard sell for voters, council members have said.
Yates: If we decide to form a district as a city/county, isn't it 9 ppl making a decision without the information, versus 30,000 voters making it without the information?
That's true, Seter says, but all the formation decision is, really, is to create the board, a shell.
Gehr asks Seter to explain how the transfer of assets is typically handled.

We draft an IGA assuming what people want, noting negotiation points. Then city council changes terms how it wants.
"It's an agreement between two parties," Seter says, "so if you don't sign off on it, it doesn't go anywhere."
It's never happened that a city has refused to share assets in some way, either by lease or transfer, Seter says. Generally, everyone wants to make libraries better.
There's an example in southern Colorado, Seter says, where the libraries are in the schools. The county and school district formed a library district, but the school kept funding the libraries as they always have for 2020. The tax from the district won't kick in until 2021.
"We might form a district without knowing everything," Brockett says. "But we still have to approve the details," so we'll have control and knowledge.
Seter: "Once a district is formed, it's a separate gov't. And if it wants to do something, it has to talk to you. If you don't agree, it doesn't happen." It's two governments negotiating.
Basically, the district could be formed but would be, like Seter said, a shell without any money or assets or power if the city doesn't agree to the details of the intergovernmental agreement.
Also, by law, if funding isn't found within a certain time after the district is formed, the district is dissolved.
Friend: Wallach asked what could go wrong. To inverse that, how can we tee it up to make sure it goes right?

Also thinks it's a better idea to tie the formation and funding together. Is that smoother in your opinion, she asks Seter.
"This is for you to decide, but I think it's smoother for everybody when it's formed by resolution," Seter says.
If county accepts a petition, your choice as a city is to opt out or stay in.
With a resolution, city and county can each pass their own, dependent on each other. And you can have stipulations in the resolution that if an agreement can't be reached or funding fails, the district dissolves.
We're talking now about the board which will oversee the district. 5-7 members are appointed. Commissioners and council members *can* be appointed, but they can't de facto be included, I don't believe.
Whoever forms the district (county and city OR the county alone) gets to appoint those members.
Yates: I assume that bc these are the city assets, the city will have certain non-negotiable (leased property, XX numbers of mills). That could be annunciated in the resolution or to the voters, if we let them decide. We can say, under these terms, would you approve the district?
Yes, Seter says. We had a situation in Aurora where the city didn't want to do an agreement, and the voters turned everything down bc they didn't trust the city to follow through.
Young: Then what happened?
Seter: "That was it. It's still a city library and it's woefully underfunded."
Weaver: Can we require that city appoints all board members?
Yes, Seter says.
Seter: In many districts, counties don't participate. There is a county overlay, but the assets aren't theirs.
Seter: In Fort Collins, the county did a resolution that basically said, once the city does a resolution, it's done. So the city could do whatever it wanted to.
Brockett: We could do a similar structure with the county commissioners, if they're willing.
It just so happens council and county commissioners met last night. I was there; I just didn't live tweet. The commissioners didn't really have much to say RE: a district. Just that Longmont is considering one, too.
Joseph: Is this something the county commissioners are even considering?
Seter: If they get a petition, they will. Otherwise, I'm not sure how motivated they are.
It seemed very much at last night's meeting that this is a city issue. Again, bc these are all the city's assets.
"There's 9 of us and 3 of them," Young jokes.
Yates: Assuming a petition/county process, how long does city have to opt out?
30 days, Gehr says.
Wallach: if the district funding turns out to be insufficient 10 yrs from now. "Are we just passengers on the bus?" Do we have a say, control, etc.
Seter: It becomes a political q at that point. The district goes out on its own to get more funding.
Only control city has is through appointment of the overseeing board, Seter says.
OK, we're finally moving on to funding. Kadey Doelling, chief budget officer, taking this one.

She opens with a joke: "Thankfully you have fewer qs for me."
Council was seriously nitpicking what, to me, seemed kinda basic and straightforward.
OK, current library funding.
2020 library budget (ongoing): $9.1M, with $1.5M of that from dedicated mill .333 mills
A district would be up to 3.850 mills, the Library Champions have estimated.
Where funding currently comes from:
About 63-65% of library patrons live in the city.
Yates: What's your definition of a patron?
Households with library cards, David Farnan, library director says.
Yates: But library cards never expire.
Farnan: We clear the database. If you haven't used your library card in 3 years, you're kicked out.

Bad news for me...
Farnan: We get 13,000 new card users a year and drop 8-9K.
Here's the recommended district boundary (in green is the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan area; red is city of Boulder)
On this map are 113,564 library patrons
Of those, 77,654 are in the city of Boulder
Here's what a district tax would mean for the avg. household:
The numbers in ( ) are how much taxes would go *down* for city of Boulder residents with removal of the current .333 mills dedicated to the library.

Of course, it's unlikely taxes would actually go down. Those .333 mills will likely be shifted to another need.
If voters OK, that is.
Yates and Wallach ask for more breakdowns on the per-property costs.
Yates also asks for a "total tax burden" estimate before Doelling comes back to council on March 17. That may be the first budget look for 2020.
Well, 2021's budget.
Depending on the district structure, Boulder could save $7.5M. If city keep paying administrative overhead, would save $3.4M for the general fund.
It's hard to say how much savings there will be if we don't do overhead, Doelling says, bc it's not like we'd eliminate 2 HR positions if we didn't do HR for the library. Those things serve every city dept, and library doesn't make up a ton of that.
"I think this is a good minimum," Doelling says. "I don't want to be banking on money we don't have yet."
It's likely the city will keep providing those admin services, Doelling says.
Brockett: We could receive some revenue from the city to provide those services.
Yes, Doelling says.
That's not reflected in the potential cost savings.
So I think I need to clarify what the city might save in the event of a district.
$7.5M from the general fund, for sure.

Potentially, some portion of the $3.4M in administration costs (spread over the whole city organization) will be recouped. But maybe not.
Also not encapsulated in some of these figures are the capital costs. The district will be better able to address some of the library's $3.9M in deferred maintenance (estimate from the library commission)
Yates: We're forcing Boulder taxpayers to pay more so that Niwot and Gunbarrel residents pay something.
Farnan: It adds 22% more households and 20% more value.
Yates: But the proposition isn't just to tax Niwot and Gunbarrel only. It's to tax Boulder a second time.
Brockett: With that outcome, we would have other revenue to support other city services. It's not like a double tax. We could conceivably lower taxes or fund other city services.
Yates: It felt like we're paying $16M to get $7.5M.
$8.5M went away somewhere.

Brockett: That's the $$ we currently pay for the library, that will keep going to the library. Then there will be $7.5M to go to something else.
Weaver: So Boulder taxpayer's taxes are going up to keep supporting the library and then go into other city services?

At the end of the day, this is a tax increase. That's what we need to keep in mind. Particularly on businesses, who don't use the library very much.
Brockett: That's a separate point, but yes.
Library Champions point has been that the library needs more money. Boulder can either pay more, all by itself, or a little bit more and share the costs with Niwot, Gunbarrel, etc.
Feels like council is kinda missing that point in tonight's discussion. This whole thing got started bc the library has had (relatively) flat funding since 2002. It wants or needs more $$ to keep up with demand, and that has to come from somewhere.
Wallach: We're assuming ppl outside the city will be delighted to pay for something they're getting for free now.

Doelling: We're not making any assumptions.
Farnan: We did a poll last March. There was no difference in support among Boulder residents and those outside city limits. And there was more support among those ID'ing as biz owners; I can't say why.
Swetlik reminds council: The assumed 3.85 mills would be full vision plan funding for the library; it wouldn't necessarily have to be that high.
Yates: We did increase library funding the last two years.
Close to $800,000, Doelling says.
Yates: Are we going to have a discussion about other ways to fund the library if we don't do a district? I for one would be up for having that discussion.
Doelling: This is based on the library master plan, so what we do miss here is the deferred maintenance and capital needs.
Yates: We have backlogs in every dept. Keep it reasonable. "There's backlog and there's backlog."
Young: Council could choose a lower level of funding?
Doelling: Presuming the petition doesn't get ahead of that.
Fact: The library's art collection is worth $400,000

Weaver wants to know the value of the entire collection.
Doelling: "Idk if it moves the needle a ton, but we'll get that."
Friend: Didn't council look at other ways to fund the library *before* we got to forming the district?
Doelling: In November 2018, a consultant looked at that.

Here's a little bit of a story from that:…
Young: Every time we have something in front of us, we want to fund it full throttle.

Swetlik: Have we ever fully funded a master plan?

"Open space!" someone (quietly) shouts from the audience.
"We accept master plans," deputy city manager Tanya Ange says. "That doesn't mean we fund master plans."
"I don't believe we've ever fully achieved a master plan vision by the time the next master plan is started."
Brockett breaking in to get council back on track. Tonight is just for studying; March 17 is the public hearing and full discussion. That's the time for opining, he says.
"If we feel the tax amount is too large, we could form the district, have them pass a tax increase and then lower our own taxes. If we feel this burden is too high, it doesn't mean we shouldn't do a district," Brockett says.
That's true, Weaver says. But we'd be setting the library up to meet its plan to the detriment of everything else in the city that needs $$.
Nagle: Has there been a time in our history that we've ever lowered taxes?
Doelling: Technically yes, but it was a 1-yr tax for the fire training center that we did not renew. It was some years ago.
Yates reminding new council members of how the polling went for a library district. Despite the spin, it didn't go exactly well. Tepid, is how I characterized it. (Link earlier in the thread.)
Only 45% in support of forming a district, regardless of funding.
Brockett: There were a lot of undecideds.
Someone will be brought in to explain how polls correlate with election results in Boulder.
Brockett: At what point does the exact mill rate get decided and by whom?
Seter: By you and the commissioners.
Brockett: We don't have to pick 3.85. We can pick a different number.
Joseph asking a q about the benefits for those in Gunbarrel and Niwot.
The 3.85 mills funding level would include libraries in those communities that Boulder hasn't budgeted for.
Farnan: Gunbarrel library by 2024, Niwot library to follow is in the funding model being pushed by the Library Champions, assuming a board of trustees was OK with that.
Weaver: Have you ever seen cities try to figure out if their residents want this ahead of the vote for a tax?
Seter: "I really haven't." Other than the required public hearing.
Of course, Boulder would.
Polling, of course, is common, Seter says. But most cities rely on the election results.
Farnan: Even polling wasn't really polling the way Boulder did. But this info is incomplete bc it was just requested today.
Joseph: There are many districts in Colorado. Does that mean it's the wave of the future?
Farnan: 59 districts have formed in CO; 80% by resolution. But that's from 2011-2014. The state library needs more time than a couple hours to provide the info you wanted.
Currently there are 57 library districts in CO
31 municipal libraries
11 county libraries

7 districts formed by election since 1988
OK, that's all for library district tonight.
Reminder: Public hearing on March 17.

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