People will now decide the value of the library service funding for Area E

People will now decide on the relevance of library services and whether or not to dig deeper and fund them.

Residents of Area E in the Regional District of Central Kootenay will enter a public consultation period on integrating the entirety of Electoral Area E into Nelson Public Library service, providing access that supports both sides .

Central Kootenay Regional District (RDCK) staff have been instructed to prepare a Service Establishment Bylaw for Electoral Area E Library Contribution Service “subject to staff conducting a public consultation process” .

Support for the settlement — which would see Area E help fund the Nelson Public Library — will be assessed through an alternative approval process, RDCK research analyst Tom Dool noted.

The consultation to engage the community of Electoral Area E – which was made possible once the RDCK Board passed the first three readings of the bylaw to establish the service – will ensure people understand the costs and benefits associated with the service.

Currently, Electoral Area F and a defined portion of Electoral Area H have established services for the purpose of providing a financial contribution to the Nelson Public Library. Both services charge a fee for the service based on the assessed value of the land and improvements in the service area.

Maximum contribution levels have been established, with Electoral Zone F having a maximum allowable annual contribution of $101,250, while the defined portion of Electoral Zone H has a maximum allowable annual contribution of $72,500.

These amounts were determined using a formula based on the population at the time the service was established in 2010. Since then, contributions have increased by 2% per year, unlike the population.

It has been estimated that about 37% of residents in Zone E are likely to subscribe to the library if it were tax funded (based on 42% in Zone F and 29% in defined Zone H).

Based on current assessment amounts and a proposed contribution of $106,138 for 2023, the owner of a $500,000 home would expect to pay $38.82 for library services.

A renewed Library Contribution Agreement between Nelson Municipal Library, Area F, defined parts of Area H and Area E is expected to be concluded before the end of 2022 to secure Area E’s participation in the service in 2023 .

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