Wagner funding options discussed

FALLS CITY — The city and school district in Falls City are investigating the pros and cons of options to keep the Wagner Community Library open.

During a joint meeting Sept. 19, the Falls City City Council and Falls City School Board discussed the possibility of forming a library district or seeking a local option levy. Both would require voter approval.

A district would ask voters to approve a permanent property tax rate that would support library operations. A local option levy asks voters for a temporary property tax increase and would have to be renewed.

Falls City Schools Superintendent Jack Thompson said he favored the permanent solution a district provides over a local option levy.

“My fear with a local option is that a local option has to be renewed. I think my thought process would be is this should be a permanent district,” Thompson said.

Bob Young, a member of the school board, also said a district is the best solution.

“I think that would be the way to permanently fund it. Where you are not always asking the school district or the city to help pass another levy, bond, whatever you call it, to help keep the thing afloat,” he said.

Falls City Mayor Terry Ungricht said forming a district would require creating a governing board.

“Which is all doable, but then they become another layer of government,” he said.

Library Director Andy Rommel said he spoke with Polk County Assessor Doug Schmidt about funding options. Schmidt would be willing to meet with the board and council later this fall to explain options, he said.

Jami Kidd, the school board chairwoman, said nothing will be decided about which direction to go until after the meeting with Schmidt.

“Right now we are hoping to look at as many options as we have available and become educated about what those would look like down the road,” she said.

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