I live in Weber County and have for most of my life. I am the 7th child of 13 so, out of necessity, I learned to be thrifty. I learned early in life how to live within my means. I also learned how to save up now for something I would need to buy later. I would even save up and then buy a car that I could afford to pay cash for.
Throughout my live I have trusted other people with my finances, because of some limitations I had due to some major health problems I was going through. I regretted it later and I am still paying for their actions.
So, what does all of this have to do with libraries? Well, last year (2013) our county was getting pressure from the library board to go into debt $65 million for a library bond. Then it got lowered to $55 million. Then finally to $45 million and put on a ballot for the taxpayers to vote on.
The state had passed a new law that hadn’t gone into effect yet. The law stipulates that any special bond elections had to be placed on a general election ballot, so that the special interest groups (such as the library board & friends) can’t put it on a primary ballot that their people will turn out and support, while the rest of us are sleeping–not realizing what is going on.
Our county had the brilliant idea to put this special bond vote on an experimental All Vote By Mail Ballot in June (before the new law prohibiting it went into effect). Weber County has never done an All Vote By Mail ballot before. Many people still have no idea that it happened. The library made sure to notify all of their supporters to vote for it. I received emails from the library promoting it. What I didn’t receive was any facts about it. I voted no because I don’t like being in debt and I thought the bond seemed excessive.
The bond election passed with about 17,000 people voting for it and about 14,900 voting against it. There were an additional 70, 000 or 80,000 voters who didn’t vote. Our county’s population is approximately *236,640. Residents who were younger than 18 were not eligible to vote, but will still have to pay for it for the next couple decades.
As I started to poke around and learn more about the library issue I discovered that other counties were building whole libraries for about $4 – $6 million. So for $45 million we could get about 9 new libraries, right? Wrong! Our library board (that, by the way is filled with liberals) was planning on spending $23 – $24 million just on ONE library in Roy. They were planning on spending $16 – $17 million to remodel/renovate the Ogden library (which does not include the cost for asbestos removal or flooring). Another $5 million to do a few things in North Ogden. And over a hundred grand to expand the parking lot in the valley.
Those prices have got to be wrong. It just doesn’t add up or make sense. So I dug a little deeper and a little deeper. I went to the county commission meeting last November and got up during the public comments section of the meeting to state my concerns. One thing I said was that we all have to tighten our belts and we expect them to do the same. We elected them to be responsible with our monies and not get us into more debt. (FYI we currently have about $45 million in debt, so the library bond will double our county’s debt–and that is just ONE district! What happens when the other districts want us to fund their pet projects?)
A few other people got up and expressed their concerns about the bond as well. After the public comments were over, Commissioner Zogmaister told us that we were all uninformed and that if we had been attending the library board meetings all along, like she had, then we too could be informed. After the meeting she came up to me and said that I should come to the library meetings and learn more about what is going on. I said okay, and asked when their next one was. She told me that they didn’t have any scheduled, but that she would let me know when they did.
As I was talking to someone else a few minutes later, they told me that it was funny Commissioner Zogmaister told me there weren’t any scheduled, because there was one scheduled that very evening. I found out the time and location and I went. When Commissioner Zogmaister came in and saw me, she looked surprised. (I wonder why?) I followed her into the board room, so nobody questioned who I was.
I listened to the meeting and took their handouts. By the time I left the meeting at the end I was even sicker about the library project than I was when I went in. The first thing I did when I left the meeting was call my friend Kathy, because she and her husband had done a lot to educate people about **Agenda 21). I asked Kathy if Commissioner Zogmaister knew about Agenda 21. She assured me that Commissioner Zogmaister was very familiar with Agenda 21 and that she and her husband had been in her office just a few days earlier and they were discussing Agenda 21. Then I told Kathy that I had just attended the library board meeting and the whole thing is Agenda 21. So that means that Commissioner Zogmaister is knowingly bringing Agenda 21 into our county and putting us in bondage to pay for it.
This “library”, as they are calling it, is an *Agenda 21 third space concept. Your first space is your home. Your second space is your school or your work. Your third space is another area that you are allowed to be when you are not at one of the other two spaces. You are cattle being herded and you don’t even know it.
The reason it costs so much? There are a few things that factor into that. The size for one thing. The building in Roy is supposed to be about 70,000 square feet. By comparison, the very nice library in South Ogden is about 35,000 square feet. Another cost factor is ***LEED certification. The library in South Ogden has a Gold certification. The library in Roy is going to be Platinum. The general contractor overseeing the project isn’t enough. We have to have someone over them who can make sure everything is being done to UN standards. They receive their certification through the **US Green Building Council. The materials we have to use to receive this high certification are very expensive. For example, we will never make up the cost of the materials through their supposed energy savings.
Another thing Agenda 21 attempts to do is get rid of property rights. What happens if you can’t pay your property taxes? You lose your property to the government. What happens if the government gets so far under that they can’t afford to pay of the bonds? Perpetual debt is great, isn’t it?
Right now Weber County has 5 libraries. After the county gets done spending $45 million PLUS (you know it is going to cost more than they project), the county will still only have 5 libraries.
Go out and visit the Roy library. I have been there several times. I usually only see about 1-5 people in there browsing and checking out books. Their meeting room gets used and that is the most I see people use that library. You can’t tell me that they really NEED a 70,000 square foot library.
I read Weber County’s 2012 CAFR. One thing I noticed on there is that the issuance of library cards has gone down. Not a surprise when you think about how many people now have iPads, Kindles, smart phones, PCs, and laptops. Just think about it. If it was really about “libraries” and “books” would that even make any sense? You can buy a Kindle for about $60. If you spent another $40 on e-books that would be $100. How many hundred dollar combos could you buy for $45 million? 450,000? So I ask you, is it really about books? Really?
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time to go to every city council meeting, research everything that needs to be researched for the city, and vote on every issue. That is why I elect a mayor and city councilmen to REPRESENT me and take care of those things. I want to be able to trust that they have my best interests at heart when they make their decisions. I elect county commissioners to REPRESENT me at the county level. I elect people to REPRESENT me at the state and federal levels. There aren’t enough hours in the day for me to watch over all of these REPRESENTATIVES and make sure they are protecting my rights and my property.
I fell asleep once and allowed someone to put me into debt so far that I haven’t been able to bounce back with all the additional medical bills too. I can’t afford to fall asleep and trust that Commissioner Zogmaister and the library board will take care of things. Debt is bondage. I don’t want someone to put me into even more bondage for a community center that is being sold to the public as a library.
So, according to what you read in the local liberal newspaper–because a measly 17,000 people in the county voted for “libraries”, we must give them what they want and we must put the whole county in debt another $45,000,000 plus additional costs, plus interest, plus the $45,000,000 that we still owe, plus, plus, plus. You see once you start this ball rolling, it is hard to stop. Although it only took a handful of people to start this ball rolling, it will take a lot of us to stand up and tell them enough is enough! Tell them if the people really want libraries, then give them libraries, not huge community centers! And don’t put us into perpetual debt to do it!
The road to bigger government is filled with good intentions. Please research the candidates and elect someone who will slow down or stop this gigantic ball of debt before it consumes us all!
*A few stats I took from Weber County’s 2012 CAFR:
Population approx 236,640;
2012 long-term liabilities 54,984,656;
2102 interest paid on long-term debt $2,017,567;
Library services expenses $7,490,927 less revenues ($819,618) Net $6,671,309;
Library Cards Issued 2012 – 22,518; 2011 – 23,221; 2010 – 25,598; 2009 – 25,361
* *If you don’t know what Agenda 21 is, please do an internet search to learn more about it. You can also find several videos that explain what it is and why it is so dangerous. Agenda 21 for Dummies would give you a basic understanding of what it is. It is the UN Agenda for the 21st Century that was signed by George HW Bush back in 1992. It is about 300 pages long. It has a lot to do with taking away property rights, creating communities where you are allowed to be, and making over half of the land mass in the US off limits to humans.
*** If you are not familiar with LEED Certification or the US Green Building Council, please do some research on it. (Hint–just because it says US doesn’t mean it is a United States government entity. It is not. Look it up. You’ll find it along with ICLEI.)
(Top Image Courtesy of Creative Commons).