Monday, June 24, 2024

Yaak resident doesn't support new library district

| May 28, 2024 7:00 AM

Dear Editor:

My husband and I will be voting NO on the establishment of a Library District in Lincoln County.

Before you accuse us of hating children and our community, please read my reasons for this decision. Our county has a very limited budget due to frivolous lawsuits collapsing the timber industry. 

Fully 78% of Lincoln County is the Kootenai National Forest, but we can’t harvest a stick of timber to provide the revenue that used to fund our local budget. Now, much of the county budget falls on property owners in the form of increased taxes. Our taxes have been raised several hundred dollars already. 

Maybe residents using the library should pay for the service instead of always expecting the property owners to pay for it!

That is not the only reason. The library offers services that are duplicated elsewhere in the county.

For example, the proponents of the Library District said people won’t be able to look for jobs on the library’s computer. What is wrong with going to the Job Service office in Libby? Also, my neighbor commented that on her visits to the library, she saw numerous kids playing video games on the computers without a parent in sight! Since when is the library a babysitting service? 

The proponents say we need computers for the residents. I agree. The computer should be used for research, searching for, and downloading a book, not for playtime.

If you are a renter, do not for a minute think you will be spared from the property tax increase. Your landlord will simply pass through the tax increase to you. People pay taxes, not companies.

I am sure you think I am being over harsh, but I see much more important uses for our limited county resources. My husband is a volunteer firefighter for the Upper Yaak Fire Service. 

With the tragic loss of Troy Dispatch, emergency calls are now handled by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Dispatch. The radio tone-outs can barely be heard and the audio is full of static and most of the time unintelligible. 

Does someone have to die before these unacceptable conditions are fixed? I think a better expenditure of our tax dollars would be to upgrade our county communications, because we depend on them in emergency situations.

In closing, I would like the commissioners to form a committee of Lincoln County residents who would first review the library budget and recommend how to run this service within the current budget. 

I would first question why we need a library in Troy which has a population of 797 people.

Closing this branch will save money and consolidate services and we won’t need to repair the building. Sell the building and improve services in Eureka and Libby.

My husband and I have always lived within our means and that required a budget. We couldn’t have our hand out asking for more money. We can’t always get what we want and neither can Lincoln County.

Sandy Beder-Miller and Larry Miller, Yaak