Friends of Library want to ensure Truckee gets its share
Two years after the 1/8-cent sales tax to fund Nevada County libraries passed, Truckee’s library is definitely seeing the effects – expanded hours, a full-time librarian and a children’s librarian, and more money for books.
However, the Friends of the Truckee Library, the charitable organization which supported most of the library’s book purchases for many years, has questions about how much Measure B money is being collected by Nevada County, and whether Truckee is getting its fair share of those funds.
“Believe it or not, they (the county) have no mechanism for separating it out,” said Pam McAdoo, an officer with Friends of the Library. “The General Fund and Measure B money all goes into one fund for all three libraries.”
Measure B funds cannot be used for major capital improvements, such as new buildings, but can be used to hire additional staff or to purchase items such as computers or books. When Measure B passed in June 1998, it tripled the library system’s previous budget – generating about $900,000 yearly.
“The results are noticeable,” said attorney Kelley Carroll, who spoke on behalf of Friends of the Library at the June 1 town council meeting. “It’s open, which is a huge improvement over previous years.”
According to projections made before the election, Truckee would raise about 24 percent of the total tax dollars.
Nevada County Branch Librarian Mary Ann Trygg said the sales tax funds are collected by the state, and issued back to the county in a lump sum.
“We get one check from the state that goes into the library account,” she said.
In statements made before the tax passed in 1998, Nevada County Head Librarian Francisco Pinneli said the taxes raised in
Truckee would remain there.
“We want Truckee’s taxes to remain in Truckee,” Pinelli said in a Sierra Sun article which appeared June 4, 1998. “It is important to remind Truckee voters that a large portion of the taxes generated come from tourist dollars.” He said then that sales tax figures would be tallied yearly to determine the town’s percentage.
Carroll said he believes that the measure passed, with a 77 percent yes vote, because of Pinelli’s promise.
“The measure gathered such wide support in Truckee because we got assurance form Mr. Pinelli that every cent raised in Truckee would be spent in Truckee,” said Carroll. “The assurance that the money would not be drained off and sent down the west side played a large part in convincing a lot of people to support the measure.”
Carroll went on to say that the assurance was not included in Measure B, but simply a promise from Pinelli.
Pinelli now says that it would cost the county too much to break down the numbers and determine how much revenue is generated from individual areas.
“I can give ballparks, but to give exact numbers – we’re not even sure we can do that,” said Pinelli. “It gets very complicated to get exact numbers. It would be a nearly impossible task.”
Fifth District County Supervisor Sam Dardick said he did not know why exact information could not be had.
“I know Francisco and he’s doing his best,” Dardick said. “In a way I’m surprised he can’t give us closer figures.”
Carroll said he hopes that county supervisor-elect Barbara Green, who is from Truckee and will take office in January, will focus more attention on the issue.
Green also said that she does not understand why the information can not be obtained.
“You ought to be able to figure that out,” said Green. “We have to be able to show Truckee they’re getting their money’s worth. I’m going to be paying a lot closer attention.”
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