|5/29/2014 10:20:00 AM|
Council debates summer reading fees
The summer reading program fees was a topic of discussion at last Thursday's Chelan City Council meeting.
Parks Director Charles Sablan briefed the council on the situation. During the summer, the Lake Chelan Library organizes a summer reading program to encourage school-aged youth to continue reading throughout the summer. The Library Advisory Board and the Lake Chelan Library Staff is seeking a waiver of the fees for use of the second floor of the library. The total fees for the eight programs is approximately $320.
The council was split on whether to allow the fees to be waived.
"I'm strongly in favor of summer reading programs, I'm strongly opposed to having any library action going upstairs until we are ready to lease it out to all people," Councilman Mike Cooney said. "That is a city building. We've gone backwards on the old library as far as rents. We are at sub-market rent on the first floor of the library and now we are being asked to go upstairs and use the second floor and to waive the fee, I'm strongly opposed to it."
"I want to encourage kids to read, because through reading, they are going to be able to advance their education and understanding of the world as they grow into it," Councilman Cameron Morehouse said. "I think it's critical that we have this. We've got a great facility there, and I think we should use it to its maximum ability...we're talking about $320 for 60 to 100 kids to read, so I think it's pretty selfish to say we need to hold them back for a $320 fee."
The motion was made to approve the fee waiver, with the council being split, 3-3, with councilman Cameron Morehouse, Guy Harper and Ben Higgins for, and Councilman Mike Cooney, Councilwoman Wendy Isenhart and Erin McCardle against. With the absence of councilman Mike Steele, the vote went to Mayor Bob Goedde to break the tie, and he voted against waiving the fees.
"I don't want to set a precedent, I'm voting no," Goedde said.
During council comments, Higgins spoke about the issue, saying he would pay for the fees out of his own pocket.
"My mother loved to read, she unfortunately passed away here in the last couple months," Higgins said. "I personally am going to write a check for that $320 to give it to the city to cover that because she loved to read and she wants other people to read."
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