Truckee, Nevada County continue talks on new ‘modern community hub and library’ plans
Truckee is continuing to work on bringing a new library to the town by working with Nevada County on the design and funding of a new facility.
“The town continues to be very supportive of a new modern community hub and library space,” Truckee Town Manager Jeff Loux told Nevada County supervisors Tuesday. The county has been working with the town, the Friends of the Truckee Library and the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation to develop a project plan and have created a remodel committee and a structure and funding committee.
“We’re beginning to talk to other entities, the airport and Parks and Rec, who might be able to make this somewhat challenging idea come to pass,” Loux said.
The town is currently working with the county to leverage library funds to partially remodel the library branch while planning for an entire new library.
“The need for a new facility has been articulated a while back,” said Supervisor Richard Anderson, who represents the eastern county District 5. “As Truckee grows that inadequacy will grow. We’re running out of time.”
Truckee’s library opened in 1976. At 4,564 square feet and serving a town population of 17,000 people it is now at maximum capacity and has no room for expansion, according to a town staff report.
Truckee had previously looked at taking control over the library from the county. A study presented to Truckee Town Council in February concluded that it was not a feasible option.
According to a study by Management Partners, a consulting firm that specializes in local government, library revenues are projected to increase at 3% per year. However, salary and revenue expenses, which make up 70 percent of the operating budget, will increase at a faster rate.
Measure A sales tax revenue is the primary funding source for Nevada County libraries. The report assumed 26% of Measure A revenue would return to Truckee. However, a staff report states, this is well below the five-year annual average of 29.1%.
According to the report, the “library budget is particularly vulnerable to economic downturn.” The report projected 90 percent of the library budget projected to come from Measure A sales tax, adding that “economic downturn tends to cause a more immediate and dramatic change to sales tax than to other revenue sources.”
To be eligible for Measure A funding, the town would also still need to be part of Nevada County library system. This would mean legally the town could not have a truly independent library.
In the town’s charter there is no mention of a library and no staff designated to help run the library, Loux said.
“The town is very committed to this, but I think it’s important to recognize we’re not in the library business. The initial study told us you’re a whole lot better at running a library than us,” said Loux to the board of supervisors.
In June of 2016, the Nevada County Executive Office submitted a letter to the town manager asking the town to explore the option and feasibility of taking over Truckee library services. The council expressed willingness to consider the change in January 2017, as long as the town had adequate funding to support it and the council was sure it would improve the current services offered.
This transition has been a vision of the library since 2010 when Friends of the Truckee Library engaged a consulting firm to evaluate feasibility of town operation.
Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or firstname.lastname@example.org.