Town of Lisbon rescinds library president appointment
Village begins study to takeover library
Town of Lisbon - A high-powered committee has begun reviewing how the Village of Sussex will take over the Pauline Haass Library in 2015 while a battle between the Library Board and the Town of Lisbon escalated last week.
"The idea is how to make the library continue operations without the Town of Lisbon after 2014," Village President Greg Goetz said Thursday, Jan. 31, at the first meeting of the Library Continuation Committee.
The committee was appointed by the Village Board to develop recommendations for continuing the library if the joint funding agreement with Lisbon expires in 2014.
Negotiations between the town and village have been at an impasse since last summer. Town Chairman Matt Gehrke has insisted that Sussex pay a bigger share of the library's operating cost since Sussex residents use library services more often than town residents.
Gehrke rejected a proposal by a negotiation committee to increase the village's share of the cost.
Gehrke said last week that the Town Board would vote later this year to continue the agreement until 2014 but probably not in 2015.
Village officials have emphasized they are not yet part of a battle between the library and Town Board over 63 acres in the town donated by the Pauline Haass estate.
The Town Board voted on Monday, Jan. 24, to rescind Library Board President Emil Glodoski's appointment to the Library Board.
Glodoski was one of three town residents appointed to the Library Board by the Town Board. He also served as president of the Library Board.
Gehrke said Glodoski was stripped of his membership on the Library Board because he twice voted to approve the Library Board filing a lawsuit in an attempt to take control of the Haass farmland.
Library Director Kathy Klager said state law permits town governments to rescind appointments to boards and commissions.
Klager defended Glodoski's votes, saying that state law required him to place the interests of the library before the interests of town residents.
Klager urged the Library Board to file the lawsuit after Gehrke had indicated twice last year that the Town Board may decide not to renew a joint library funding agreement.
Klager said it was necessary for the Library Board to file the lawsuit because state law requires that any lands donated for library purposes be owned and controlled by library boards.
For years, town officials have argued that the Haass will clearly stipulates the land is being donated to the town for the town's use for library purposes, and the land was donated before the state law.
Some town officials have said privately that the Library Board's decision to file the lawsuit might have been the coup de grace for the 25-year-old agreement that provides the two communities share capital and operating expenses of the library.
"It doesn't make any sense for them (the Library Board) to file a law suit against someone who is helping pay their expenses," said Town Supervisor Joe Osterman.
"It puts us (the Town Board) in a position of paying someone to file a lawsuit against us," he added.
The library will be required to continue to provide services to town residents if the joint funding agreement is not renewed, according to Village Administrator Jeremy Smith.
Town residents would be required to pay a Waukesha County Library tax of between 24 and 26 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation if the Town Board discontinues its financial aid to the library.
However, town residents would pay a smaller contribution through the county library tax than they currently pay in the joint funding agreement.
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