Taxpayers react to county's library plans

People in a library (AP)

May 12, 2010 4:38:14 AM PDT
A move to build a new jail and justice center in Wake County while delaying the expansion and building of new libraries that voters approved years ago has some taxpayers speaking out. Back in 2003, voters passed a bond that promised a brand new Northeast Regional Library. It was supposed to open this year, but that's not happening even though the money is available.

"If we voted for, to have a new library," Wake County taxpayer Nicole Lane said. "I feel like we should use the money for that."

"We've needed an expansion for quite a few years and we were due to get one and should've been expanded by now," Wake Forest Community Library Manager Yvonne Allen said.

But they won't expand for at least another year, if not longer, despite a voter approved bond that promised a bigger branch.

"I do know the expansion here is sorely needed, because it's overcrowded, staff is overworked here. Wake County taxpayer Bill Lee said. "We need more space and more room for teens and young readers."

He says he is also concerned about the rush to build the public safety center in downtown Raleigh without voter input.

"I personally question whether or not it's needed at this time," Lee said.

But county leaders say the current jail is overcrowded and the new building is necessary.

As for libraries, commissioners say they will eventually build new ones and expand others once they can afford the extra costs for the extra staff and extra books that go along with the bigger buildings.

For now though, they are leaning towards using the money to renovate existing buildings to keep all libraries open, which is something some voters agree with.

"I think that makes sense," Lee said. "I'd much rather see a library saved."

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