Originally Published: September 25, 2017 6 a.m.
Prescott City Council will be voting on whether or not to restore Prescott Public Library’s Sunday hours during its next regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 26.
If approved, regular Sunday hours of 1 to 5 p.m. would return perhaps as soon as early October.
To do so would cost the city an estimated $42,643.20 for the first nine months, according to figures provided by the library’s management team. This money would be used to hire and train the necessary staff and cover the utilities. When averaged out over that first nine months, this comes to almost $1,100 per Sunday of operation.
In January 2016, the library eliminated Sunday hours as part of a $1.1 million citywide package of cost-cutting measures, which city officials said were necessary because of the rising costs in the public-safety pension program (PSPRS).
Since then, there has been public outcry as well as debate among city council members concerning the library’s involvement in these cost cutting measures
A campaign started by local businessman Barry Barbe significantly contributed to unifying the dissenting voice to the decision.
He printed out thousands of postcards and provided them to any local residents wishing to let the Prescott City Council know why they support the library.
Thousands of those postcards were brought to the City Council, as was a lengthy petition urging the city to maintain its funding for the Prescott Public Library.
“The postcard project was done because I see [the library] as a vital city service to numerous people,” Barbe said. “People don’t just move here for our lakes and our great bike trails and our great downtown, they move here because we have a great library. They call it Prescott’s living room.”
Acknowledging this and the city’s priority to pay off the unfunded liability from PSPRS as quickly as possible, Mayor Pro Tem Jim Lamerson anticipates some discussion on Tuesday as to what action is best to take regarding the library’s hours moving forward.
“There probably will be a little bit of controversy on that,” Lamerson said.
In other action, the council will:
Get an overview by the public works department during the council’s study session on the current status of the approved capital improvement program.
Prescott City Manager Michael Lamar asked for the update.
“There are a number of instances over the past couple of years where we’ve gone out and made commitments to neighborhoods to do infrastructure projects, and some of those projects have been pushed back for one reason or the other,” Lamar said.
He hopes the public works department will explain why those projects were pushed back and, if the council is so inclined to request it, consider the possibility of pushing those projects back up.
“I feel like if you’re going to go out to the public and make a commitment to do something, you better have a good reason as to why you’re not doing it,” Lamar said.
Discussion during the council’s study session on the potential formation of a city traffic committee.
Such a volunteer committee existed but was discontinued in 2011 once a professional traffic engineering staff was hired. That decision is just now being reevaluated.
“Simply because you hire a traffic engineer, doesn’t mean you eliminate public input and public advice,” Mayor Pro Tem Jim Lamerson said.
Consider amending Granite Dells Estates’ Master Plan and Preliminary Plat.
The request to amend will diminish the area originally designated commercial, with the difference to be occupied by residential. The result would be an overall increase of 91 lots for a build-out total of 1,399 residential units.