Blogs > Daily Local Dan

A blog that takes a look at West Chester area government, politics, and community events.

Monday, November 16, 2009

West Goshen residents will demand library funding

A group of West Goshen residents will go to the Wednesday, Nov. 18 Board of Supervisors meeting to ask the township to start making annual contributions to the West Chester Public Library.

I'm not sure how much luck they will have. Last month, Supervisor Robert White said that West Goshen would rather support "active recreation." And, he made no promises to a resident who asked that the township reconsider its position.

Here is a link to a library funding petition that, I'm told, is currently circulating in West Goshen.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dr. White was right

It's true. West Chester Borough spends more on its library than on its roads.

At least, in 2010 it might.

Robert White, a dentist, West Goshen Supervisor, and frequent utterer of controversial statements, told me last month that his township has no intention of giving an annual contribution to the West Chester Public Library. Then, he delivered this zinger:

"West Goshen decided to spend its money on active recreation and fixing roads. The borough must just spend its money on the library, because its roads are atrocious."

Afterwards, he said something like, "And you can quote me on that."

Well, Dr. White was right about the borough's spending priorities. In its 2010 proposed budget, the borough has set aside $105,000 for the library. However, citing Great Recession-related financial difficulties, borough officials tentatively canceled $99,000 worth of road milling and resurfacing projects. This brings the total money the borough will spend on milling and resurfacing to $0.

I'm not saying the borough is wrong to support the library or to cancel the road repairs. West Chester's roads don't bother me. And, if I had to enumerate the things that give my life meaning, books would make my list. Smooth roads wouldn't. (Rough roads might ... but I'm not sure I can succinctly explain why.)

The borough's 2010 budget contains $156,000 to purchase two dump trucks. These will be used to replace the worn out ones that now collect garbage, plow roads, and, if I'm not mistaken, spread road salt. So it's not as if the borough is spending nothing to make its roads easier to drive on. And if Borough Council President Sue Bayne gets her way, the borough might forgo purchase of one of the trucks and use the money to instead complete a few paving projects.

Re: the library funding, Dr. White said that West Goshen provides to the greater West Chester Area ample parkland and $300,000 a year worth of recreation programs. And, he said, residents already pay to support the county library system. Therefore, he said, no contribution to the West Chester Library is necessary.

The West Chester Public Library asks the municipalities in its service area to contribute a dollar annually for each of their residents. West Chester Borough, which has 18,000 permanent residents, contributes more than $100,000. West Goshen Township, which has 20,000 permanent residents, contributes nothing. The county also assesses a library tax, but revenues from this tax go primarily to the big library in Exton, not to the smaller libraries throughout the county.

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