This post will be a mix of fact and opinions about those facts.
If you are not aware of the letter issued by KCLS, signed by Bill Ptacek and mailed to residents of Renton then see the Renton Patch KCLS letter update to read story,the letter and the commentary.
While you examine the letter and the read the comments please recall that KCLS is a non-profit entity mostly supported by property taxes. That would be your money. Election laws place strict limits on what actions non-profits may engage in regarding election campaigning. This is especially true in the case of publicly funded entities.
First paragraph, next to last sentence: “would cost 38 percent more than the original budget”: There never was any budget. The interlocal agreement with KCLS does not mention any dollar amounts or limitations on what KCLS is allowed to spend. There was an $18,000,000 bond issue passed in the same proposal for construction of two new libraries. At the time city staff was not sure if the amount would be adequate but decided to recommend the amount as a starting point to be added to later if needed.
First paragraph, last sentence: “The City of Renton would be responsible for the additional costs and for managing the additional complexities.” We are already on the hook for all the costs whatever they may be. KCLS is supposed to be responsible for all the management whatever that may entail and for spending the cities money with no constraints.
Second paragraph in the Background section, “The City of Renton has already invested nearly $1 million dollars on property acquisition and design….”. Of this alleged amount $525,000 was the price of the property at Third and Logan proposed as the site of a new building. Since there is no actual number we don’t know what has been spent on design. If the property is such a demand site it would seem reasonable that the city could sell it at a profit now or in the near future when all the plans to revitalize downtown bear the expected fruits. (Can’t resist: How long have you been hearing about projects that will revitalize downtown? How much has been spent? How is that going?) The design fees may be lost but they should have stopped the moment this was issue was approved for the ballot. If they did not then those costs should be considered part of the money KCLS has spent on the letter they issued.
Please note that they used the word “build” in referring to the Cedar River site. It is already built. It could use some renovation but to imply that it needs to be built is out of line.
The claim that is is “more expensive and more complicated to build the library at the site over the Cedar River: They tell us they informed the City Council of these possible issues. Would KCLS mind informintg the rest of us?
Near the end of this paragraph KCLS tells us they hired Miller-Hull to conduct an in-depth investigation of the potential construction scheduling and cost considerations. Why? What possible bearing does this have on Miller-Hulls work on the proposed new building? Why would we trust a study done by the firm that stands to lose a large contract for the new building?
More to the point of the possible costs for renovation. During the original site selection process Mithun Architects was instructed to prepare a budget for the renovation. It was then estimated to be $10.2 million. The question is why KCLS felt compelled to request a new estimate in the first place. Next question is how it increased by almost $3 million dollars. This is close to 30 percent more. Is KCLS implying that Mithun is incompetent and their estimate is that wrong?
Further along in this section we find more mention of “the existing project budget.” If you tell the same lies often enough the theory is that people will believe it.
The next paragraph claims that this would all be more complex and costly than the “interpretive center” plan. How do they know that? As far as I am aware no one has even proposed a budget let alone authorized an estimate on some plan. I do know that the original instruction to the committee formed to look at the options was not to worry about a budget or possible funding.
In the Summary it is admitted that site selection is the responsibility of the city. That means us, the citizens of Renton. KCLS cannot tell us where we want the library. They are obligated to provide it where we decide we want it.
And one more time with the “in excess of the Cities budgeted amount”. There is no such animal.
It appears on the surface that KCLS is using your tax dollars to fund the preparation and mailing of a blatant attempt to influence an election. In addition they have spent your money on a redundant study of the impact of a change of focus to the Cedar River renovation in order to support this attempt. The study has no other purpose than influencing the election. This is all so wrong on so many levels.
I would urge the citizens of Renton to carefully examine all these issues. It is my opinion that Bill Ptacek is trying to bully everyone into doing it his way and using our money to push us around.