Four Critical Reasons to Vote YES on Library Ballot Issues 4C and 4D

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How to Vote in the Library District Election

Easiest Way – By mail. If you get mail delivered to your home or pick it up at the Longmont Post Office, you should receive a ballot. They were mailed out to Lyons-area residents of Boulder County on Oct. 9. Fill it out (Ballot Issues 4C and 4D are the library issues) and drop it in the mail before Nov. 5. (The clerk’s office must receive a ballot by Nov. 5, so mail it earlier.)

In-Person Options – You can go to Boulder County Voting Centers at
529 Coffman St. in Longmont (8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon. – Sat. from Oct. 21 to Nov. 4, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 5) or 1750 33rd St. in Boulder (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. M-F through Oct. 25, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon. – Sat. from Oct. 28 through Nov. 4, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 5).

Request a Ballot – If you are receiving mail under a temporary forwarding order, your ballot cannot be legally forwarded, so you won’t get a ballot in the mail. You can request a ballot (1) in person at one of the voting centers (see above), (2) online at www.bouldercountyvotes.org (3) by calling 303-413-7740, (4) by writing to Boulder County Clerk, Elections Division, 1750 33rd St. – 2nd floor, Boulder, CO 80301, or (5) by changing your voter registration address at www.GoVoteColorado.com (before Oct. 28). But do so in time to mail your ballot back before Nov. 5 or deliver it to a voting center.

Please note: You can’t get a ballot in person in Lyons on Election Day (Nov. 5). If you’re a Boulder County resident and you got a ballot earlier, you can drop it off at Temporary Town Hall (Lyons Elementary) on Election Day, but you won’t be able to get a ballot there on Election Day.

Larimer County Voters – Larimer County voters should receive ballots by mail (mailed out Oct. 15), since home mail delivery has resumed to that area. They can be returned by mail or taken to a voting center. The nearest one is at the Loveland Police and Courts building, 810 E. 10th St. in Loveland. See details at www.larimer.org/elections.

Library District Board of Trustees

The LRLD board is an all-volunteer, non-paid board appointed by the Town of Lyons and Boulder and Larimer County Commissions. Members are:

Andrew Biel is the owner and president of Books of Discovery, a publishing firm specializing in science textbooks. He is also the author of 4 books and is working on a new book writing project. Drew has agreed to lead the LRLD’s capital campaign project and served as head of the Philanthopic Development Subcommittee of the LLSC.

Mark Browning retired in 2012 after 33 years as an attorney, 10 years in private practice and 23 years with the Texas Attorney General’s Office. He was asked to help on the LLSC in August 2012, became Vice Chair in March 2013 and Chair in May 2013. He and his wife Pam moved to Lyons fulltime in July 2012, but have owned a home here since 2008 and are active volunteers in local church and civic organizations.

Julie Cimmet is an attorney and holds a Master of Library Science degree. She moved to Lyons from Philadelphia in December 2012 to be near family who lived here. In addition to practicing law, Julie has experience in organizing and operating several New Jersey public libraries.

Clark Hodge is active in a variety of community organizations, including the LCF, Allenspark Community and Cultural Council, and Lyons Economic Gardening Group. He is also founder and Executive Director of a nonprofit – Chase the Music. He is employed as a technology evangelist for Code42, a company providing backup facilities for laptop and desktop computers. Clark was chief instigator in efforts that gained Lyons notoriety in the Guinness Book of World Records with SketchaPalooze, the most people ever Etch-a-Sketching at the same time.

Robert Steurman moved to Lyons in 2012, retiring after more than 40 years as a school district superintendent in South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota. He brings considerable expertise in public finance, administration and budgeting to the LRLD.

Lou Thackston is a Lyons architect and heads Gateway Architecture Studio LLC. He has served as Chair of the Architectural and Physical Plant subcommittee of the LLSC and worked with Thorp & Associates of Estes Park in preparing the LCF-funded library feasibility study.

Jenny Voss has been a chair of the LLSC’s Marketing Committee. She is an independent contractor in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry. Originally from Chicago, she and her husband moved to Lyons four years ago. She is very involved in the elementary school, which her children attend, and is a member of a local book club.

Lyons Regional Library District Important info

The Lyons Regional Library District was formed on September 3, 2013 by the Town of Lyons, Boulder County and Larimer County. It is a political subdivision of the State of Colorado, governed by a board of trustees, subject to the Colorado Library Law.

This Heart of Lyons website was created by the Lyons Library Steering Committee, a predecessor entity that worked with the Town of Lyons and two counties to create the District. This is not the District’s website and the District does not necessarily endorse all statements appearing on the Heart of Lyons website. The District will eventually create its own website, but due to the September flooding, funds available for that purpose are very limited. For the time being, the Heart of Lyons website will be maintained as a means of providing library-related information to the public.

The District does have its own email address that can be used to submit comments or questions to the District, or to obtain information. That address is lyonslibrarydistrict@gmail.com . Inquiries can also be mailed to the District at P.O. Box 619, Lyons, CO 80540.

What Do We Do Now? We Move Forward

By Mark Browning
Lyons Regional Library District Board President

(Published in the Redstone Review, Sept. 18/Oct. 16, 2013 p.4)

“The Candidate” was a 1972 movie starring a young Robert Redford as a politician who successfully endures a long, arduous campaign to win an election. The move ends with Redford, caught in an election-night frenzy of activity, uttering a famous last line: “What do we do now?”

That same question confronts the Lyons Regional Library District, created September 3 after a long, arduous effort to put a new library/community resource center before voters. Literally hours BTF (Before the Flood), the last steps were taken to put two measures (4C and 4D) on the ballot, with ballots going in the mail October 15, to be returned by November 5.

The knee-jerk reaction would be to postpone the election. It is difficult to ask voters to approve tax measures in the wake of an event like the 2013 flood. Naysayers will point to the flood as a reason to quit the library project, for now at least. But it isn’t that simple.

For one thing, many people have worked hard to get the library proposals on the ballot. Years of effort by community leaders, the business community and individual volunteers are reflected in Propositions 4C and 4D. To deny those supporters the chance to vote seems unfair.

That alone isn’t enough to justify proceeding with the vote. There are other things to consider, including things that could address the flood’s impact on the area. Those things include:

Should the district cut the initial tax levy to reduce the near-term financial impact?

Can an inter-governmental agreement, required by state law within 90 days of district formation among the district, town and counties, be structured in a way that will help the area with both interim library operations and flood recovery? (The district appointed a subcommittee to do that.)

Should the district suspend a planned capital campaign in deference to flood relief donations to the LCF and other groups? (That has been done.)

Should the district withdraw a grant request submitted to the LCF for staffing? (Also done.)

Can special measures, including temporary voting centers, be coordinated with elections officials to make post-flood voting easier for displaced residents? (Under state law, ballots are to be mailed to all voters, and voting by mail is the main way to vote.)

The Library District Board of Trustees took up those issues and others at its Saturday September 28 meeting in Longmont The District Board decided as follows:

1. The vote will not be cancelled.

2. The 2014 tax mill rate will be cut by at least half, reducing near-term tax obligations for all district residents. Instead of $140 in annual tax on a $300,000 house, the tax amount would be $70.

3. Limiting the tax levy to 2.925 mills (half of the 5.85 mills on the ballot) will be in addition to to Boulder County’s immediate revaluation of houses destroyed or severely damaged by the flood. So a property valued at $350,000 ($250,000 house, $100,000 lot) pre-flood would be revalued to $100,000 (lot only) if the house was destroyed by flood. That is a Boulder County decision, not a library district board decision, but the library board considered it significant in going forward with the vote that those with damaged homes will get significant tax relief.

I have some personal thoughts on those things. I wrestled with these issues, and others, after having to evacuate Lyons. Pam and I were in southwest Colorado, where we had already scheduled a little time off after months of long hours devoted to getting the library district formed and measures put on the ballot. Our time off got extended a bit, since we couldn’t come home, so we used part of it to visit some libraries in that part of the state.

In Mancos and Dolores (library districts about the size of the new Lyons district), we saw seniors using libraries for computer classes and teenagers using library rooms for after-school group study. In Durango we saw a swarm of kids reading books and using computers in a brightly-colored, secure children’s area. In Bayview, we saw a new addition of two meeting rooms, heavily used (we were told) by community groups, with the rooms being combinable into a performance space, complete with a large screen for family movie nights.

Interestingly, we also saw in Durango, whose new library is literally on the banks of the Animas River, an unobtrusive retaining wall built for flood protection, topped by an earthen area being turned into a botanical garden by the local garden club.

We also “saw” and felt something else in each place: a vital, active community spirit channeled into a modern gathering place where people could meet, learn, read, study, show their art, play music or put on plays.

That active community spirit struck a chord. It seemed familiar. Then I realized where I’d seen it before. I had seen it in people bringing blankets and food to a just-created evacuation center. I had seen it when people gathered in a local park in the rain to find out what was happening in their flooded town and how they could help. I had seen it when people took displaced friends into their houses. I had seen it when local business owners jumped in to supply materials and machinery to save a bridge. I had seen it in Lyons.

I wish everyone could see the infectious, uplifting spirit present in new community libraries that provide places and services for people to explore their interests and talents. Lyons has that same kind of spirit. What Lyons lacks is a place and services to channel it into an ongoing, vital part of the community.

I think Lyons area residents should get the chance to have such a place and services, just like other areas have. Perhaps it’s even more needed here now, as a tangible symbol of how Lyons will resume its place as the best place to live in America.

“What do we do now?” I say we vote on something that will be great for our community.

Library District Board to Meet Sept. 28

The Lyons Regional Library District board of trustees will meet on Saturday September 28 to discuss numerous issues created by the flood and other business.

The meeting will be at the Lyons, Gaddis law firm’s offices at 515 Kimbark St., 2nd floor in Longmont. The meeting is open to the public.

As things now stand, Ballot Issues 4C and 4D regarding the library district will be on ballots mailed to all voters in the district on October 15. Ballot issue 4C would establish a tax mill levy of up to 5.85 mills to fund the district, beginning in 2014. Ballot issue 4D is a companion Taxpayer Bill of Rights (“TABOR”) measure that would allow the district to retain any donated funds or grants without having to reduce its tax revenue.

The library district board could set a tax rate for 2014 or later years at less than the maximum 5.85 mills, if it so chooses. That is one issue to be discussed at Saturday’s meeting.

Another issue is that Colorado law requires the district, Town of Lyons and Boulder and Larimer Counties to do an inter-governmental agreement regarding library operations within 90 days of the district’s formation, which occurred September 3. How to comply with that requirement in the difficult post-flood period is another topic for Saturday’s meeting.

Boulder County commissioners sign off on three taxing district ballot proposals

By John Fryar Longmont Times-Call
09/03/2013

BOULDER — Boulder County commissioners on Tuesday OK’d three tax questions for ballots to be cast by some county residents in the Nov. 5 election.

One measure will ask residents and owners of properties in unincorporated Boulder County’s residential subdivisions to approve up to a 7.15 mill property tax levy, with annual collections to pay the bulk of the costs of rehabilitating those subdivisions’ paved roads and keeping those roads in good shape in the future.

A second question will ask Nederland-area residents and property owners for authorization of as much as a 1.85 mill property tax to cover the costs of continuing a free Regional Transportation Eco-Pass program for all permanent residents of that town and some adjacent unincorporated areas.

The commissioners further approved creation of a new Lyons Regional Library District whose about-to-be-formed board of directors is expected on Thursday to put a proposed 5.85 mill property tax on the fall ballot. Annual revenues would help fund expanding or replacing the current small Lyons Depot Library and for operating that facility once it’s built.

Formation of the Lyons Regional Library District, which would include the town itself and areas outside the town that extend into unincorporated Boulder and Larimer counties, had already been endorsed by the Lyons Town Board and got Larimer County commissioners’ approval Tuesday morning.

Boulder County Commissioners Cindy Domenico, Elise Jones and Deb Gardner held separate public hearings on each of the ballot proposals last month.

Most of the more than 30 people who spoke at an Aug. 14 hearing on the subdivision paving district idea objected that the county, rather than subdivision property owners, should pay for road rehabilitation needs.

Most of those speaking at an Aug. 20 Nederland Community Center hearing on the bus passes reportedly supported that tax plan, while most of those speaking at an Aug. 29 Lyons Town Hall meeting reportedly supported a regional library taxing district.

The commissioners took no additional verbal public testimony on any of the three taxing district proposals on Tuesday afternoon but did comment on each.

A video of the meeting, and their discussion of the proposals, will be posted online through a “Public Meetings” link on Boulder County government’s home page, bouldercounty.org.

Boulder, Larimer commissioners to sound out Lyons-area residents on library proposal

By John Fryar Longmont Times-Call

LYONS — Boulder and Larimer county commissioners will convene a joint meeting in the Lyons Town Hall on Thursday evening to hear area residents’ views on whether this community should have a larger, more up-to-date public library facility.

People attending the public hearing will have the chance to tell the commissioners whether they think the two counties should ask Lyons-area voters to authorize collection of a new property tax to support the project.
LYONS LIBRARY

The two boards of county commissioners are considering whether to join Lyons in creating a regional library district that would extend into some unincorporated areas outside the town’s municipal boundaries.

The boards also must decide whether to put an item on this fall’s ballots that would ask voters in the new Lyons Regional Library District to approve levying a property tax — up to a maximum of 5.85 mills annually — to help pay for building and operating the proposed library.

Although a specific site and a detailed design for the proposed regional library haven’t been completed, the facility would either expand or replace the Lyons Depot Library at Fifth and Broadway. That historic onetime railroad station, which reportedly dates back to 1885, has housed Lyons’ public library since 1976.

Mark Browning, chairman of the town’s Library Project Steering Committee, said the project’s backers have been staffing booths and answering questions at Lyons festivals and other local events this summer as part of an effort to gauge and build public support for the proposal.

He said an informal petition drive has produced “well over 300″ signatures of people favoring the project. He estimated that about 2,500 voters might be eligible to vote on a library district property tax if the Boulder and Larimer commissioners advance it to November’s ballot.

Browning said he’s found people to be generally receptive to the idea of forming a tax-supported library district. He said about 90 percent of the reactions he’s gotten have been positive. Those in the remaining 10 percent, he said, were primarily negative about it because of the tax that would be required.
LYONS LIBRARY
Browning said the steering committee and town officials “tried to be very careful and very conservative” in the 5.85 mill tax rate that’s being proposed — a tax that could generate an estimated $380,000 a year.

“We’ve got to be careful to stay within our means,” said Browning, who’s slated to be a member of the library district’s board of directors once it’s officially formed.

Nor do library proponents intend for tax funds to be the only source of financial support for the project.

Browning said that if Boulder County and Larimer County commissioners approve resolutions creating the district — something the Lyons Town Board did in April — a capital fundraising drive will be launched soon after.

Browning said an anonymous donor already has pledged $250,000 if library supporters can raise a matching $250,000 in other donations.

The new library that proponents have in mind would be more than just a place for storing and checking out books and recordings. It has been pitched as a possible community resource center and community gathering place, with meeting rooms, a performance area and space for art exhibits, as well as a source for a variety of community services.

The boundaries of the regional library district would generally follow those of the Lyons Fire Protection District, along with an area east of Lyons’ town limits.

Under a formal Lyons Regional Library District resolution the Boulder and Larimer commissioners are scheduled to act upon next week, the district would be dissolved if the proposed property tax is rejected in the fall election.

Two heads better than one?

[From the 8/22 edition of the Recorder]

Two heads are supposed to be better than one, but is the same thing true for county commissions?

Lyons area residents will have the chance to see for themselves on Thursday, August 29 when the Boulder and Larimer County Commissions will hold a rare joint public hearing at Lyons Town Hall. The hearing is set for 5:00 p.m., with a short tour by the commissioners of the current Depot Library likely to occur just prior to the hearing.

The idea for a combined public hearing arose at prior separate commission meetings on the Lyons Library Project Steering Committee’s requests to establish a new regional library district and approve a tax mill ballot measure to fund the district. Commissioners themselves decided it would be more efficient and more productive (easier for Lyons residents to participate) to hold the session in Lyons, rather than to require people interested in the project to drive to Boulder and Fort Collins.

Actual commission votes on creating the library district and approving ballot measures are expected to occur on September 3 at the commissions’ regular meeting sites. Larimer County commissioners, in particular, need to take the actual vote within that county, for legal reasons. And while the Boulder County Commissioners will be on their home county turf, they have expressed a preference to do their actual voting in Boulder using their regular process, which includes video streaming of meetings.

At a June public session, the Boulder County Commission asked the Library Steering Committee to come up with tangible evidence of support in the Lyons area for a new library/resource center. The LSC dutifully collected petition signatures at summer community events, Town Hall and the Depot Library. More than 300 people signed the petitions, which the LSC believes is well over 10% of registered voters in the proposed district — far more than the minimum needed to call for a vote on a library district.

All Lyons area residents, including those living outside Lyons town limits, are invited to attend the August 29 hearing and make their opinions known, if they so desire. Rules on speaking time and the length of the hearing will be set by the two county commissions.
More information is available on the LSC’s website, www.theheartoflyons.org .

– Mark Browning
823-5268

Libraries and Lattes

published in Redstone Review August 15th
by Andrew Biel

[The following is an amalgamation of three recent—and real—conversations I’ve had in Lyons.]
“Aren’t you that bald guy who wrote the article about the library last month?”
I was walking into the Barking Dog Coffee Shop when a man and woman stopped me.
“Actually, I shave my head. But yes—I wrote that piece.”

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