Media Council Advances Major Library Projects

Media Borough Council made major decisions moving forward the library projects. Actions were not without disagreement.

At the Nov. 20 meeting, council approved a motion to allocate a $1 million donation to the capital building fund of the Media-Upper Providence Library. The same motion included a provision for the library to “piggy-back” borrowing of $1.5 million through the borough’s larger bond issue of approximately $5.4 million for a variety of major projects.

Council Members Paul Robinson and Lisa Johnson voted against the motion.

“My position is that $1 million is an exorbitant amount for a donation. It’s significant and without any strings attached,” said Robinson, referring to absence of borough control or ownership of the organization.

Robinson continued that it might set a precedent regarding every other non-profit functioning in the borough, and that the significant assistance given to one group was “unfair.”

Johnson said she had a similar position, but said she was worried if the library was unable to pay back the loan over the course of an agreement.

“I support the library, but I think there were other ways to structure support,” said Johnson.

Council Member Kent Davidson, as liaison for the library, has worked continuously with all stakeholders, but also as chair of the finance committee. He said the overall project has been in the planning stages for about five years, and has a present price tag of $2.8 million. Fairly early in the process, the library board acquired a $500,000 Keystone Grant. Upper Providence Township has made substantial allocations to the library, both for 2014 and in the upcoming 2015 budget.

Before the vote, Mayor Bob McMahon said, “As a non-voting member, I am fully supportive (of the motion) because of the people involved. I know them, and understand their passion.”

On hand for the decision were library Board President Marie Sciocchetti and several other board members, as well as project architect Bob Linn and attorney Tim Sullivan. Individually and collectively they have attended many meetings and given presentations on the importance of the library to the communities. They’ve stressed the 21st century functions of libraries, and need for a facility to deliver those services.

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Complete article written by Susan L Serbin and originally published in Media Town Talk on Tuesday, November 25, 2014.

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