Amended library JPA receives OK from RP council
Communities can now fund additional hours
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By Jud Snyder  October 25, 2013 12:00 am

Rohnert Park’s City Council essentially approved an amended Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) with the Sonoma County Library System at the council’s Tuesday meeting. No vote was taken.

The amendments included more powers to the local Library Advisory Boards (LAB) and also “allowed local communities to fund additional hours for their libraries,” if  approved by the county library board. The council’s aware of the pressure from library users to re-open on Mondays. They were closed by the Board of Supervisors because of budget problems.

Darrin Jenkins, assistant city manager attending the council’s Tuesday night meeting, said, “Funding extra hours would benefit everyone, for it would be open to all citizens, not just Rohnert Park and Cotati, but unincorporated areas.”

Councilman Amy Ahanotu, council liaison to the LAB, said, “Each community on its own should do what’s best for the city.” 

He also noted the central library in Santa Rosa thinks it should have two votes on the panel. But Ahanotu disagreed. 

“I’m going to fight this,” he said.

He didn’t mention RP also serves Cotati and should possibly also have two votes.

A dissenting voice on this proposal came from Shirlee Zane, Third District Supervisor. 

“I can foresee the situation where an affluent community successfully funds more hours while disadvantaged cities go without,” Zane said. “I believe strongly that all residents should have the same access, regardless of where they live. I hope you will join me in recognizing the need for the JPA so that it does not create the opportunity to introduce unequal access to our county library system.”

If RP does propose opening the library on Mondays (hours not specified), it would have to pay salaries and add benefits to the library director’s wages plus staff members. No indication was made as to the amount of funds needed if the library was open only four hours, or eight or more.

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