OBJECTION PETITION &
Below are the objections to the 2003
library budget as listed in the objection petition
signed by 22 citizens of LaGrange County
Each objection is followed by the
Library Board's response,
as delivered on 9/16/2002.
OBJECTION #1: The proposed building
cost of $5,700,000 plus interest of $4,810,000 for a total cost to the
taxpayer of $10,510,000 is EXCESSIVE. When you take the proposed
sq. ft. of the 1st floor, and even if you add the 25,400 sq. ft. unfinished
basement for a total square footage of 5,700, then divide that into the
$10,510,000 cost you're paying a whopping $203.29 per sq. ft.--and that
is really excessive.
RESPONSE #1: The cost of
the principal of bonds is $5.7 million for the entire library building
project. That includes all furnishings, equipment, and state-of-the-art
computer technology. Interest is not customarily included when figuring
project costs. For example, when purchasing real estate, the cost
quoted is for the home and/or land only; interest is not figured in.
Therefore, that interest figure is not included in the building project's
cost per square foot, which is estimated at $140 per square foot for the
main level and $20 per square foot for the lower level.
OBJECTION #2: This $10
1/2 million project has a lower level or basement that doesn't even
have: HEATING, COOLING, LIGHTING, EXTERIOR GLAZING, CEILING OR FLOOR SLAB
-- except for a cemented elevator pit and a small mechanical room, it's
just a DIRT FLOOR! By not hatying [sic] or
cooling this space will cause a heating burden on the main level, and the
control of humidity will be more difficult. And after 20 years this
continual moisture could become a mold problem with potential health
RESPONSE #2: The project
cost is $5.7 million and cannot be more than that. That includes
the cost of concreting the lower level floor. The floor can be concreted
to satisfy individuals even though there would be added costs to remove
it in the event of expansion. The lower floor was not to be finished
until plans for future expansion were known, including under-floor computer
wiring, plumbing, and heating needs. Sufficient ventilation would
prevent moisture problems were the floor not concreted.
OBJECTION #3: The proposed
design of the building doesn't fit in with the architectural style
and historical personality of LaGrange and the surrounding towns.
This might be okay--perhaps even "stylish" in Baltimore or Indianapolis,
but it's not appropriate for LaGrange County. frankly [sic],
it looks like an airplane hanger, not a library! And what
about the cost of the glass "curtain wall" on the north side of the building?
Other than giving one a view of the "pit" to the north, all it does is
permit a view of the "dirt floor" basement!
RESPONSE #3: The library
building design is still being "worked." There is no reason to have
a "government-style" building in a residential area; concrete and brick
masses might look out of place. Glass walls are as energy efficient
as many other kinds of building materials. Such walls also allow
natural lighting opportunities. We plan for an attractively landscaped
area for outdoor use on the north side of the building.
OBJECTION #4: Only three
soil borings were taken at the Culp site. Nearly 40 soil borings
and samples were taken at the new $8 million jail, and still they missed
a couple of critical areas at the actual building location and found contaminated
soil. I understand that the county has sued the architect, builder
etc. for nearly $800,000 to cover the cost of removing the contaminated
soil, attorney fees, etc.! The Library Board architect has stated
that "three soil borings" weren't adequate and he would take "many more"
before starting constructions of the building. These extra soil borings
are not included in the project cost, and thus $150 per boring and
you take 40 borings--that's an extra $6,000 ! And soil borings alone
will not indicate if the soil is contaminated-- only soil sampling and
analysis will do that. ANOTHER COST NOT INCLUDED!
RESPONSE #4: Initial soil
borings are required for drainage and use purposes. Further borings
are needed more specifically for building purposes and as a different type
not done until construction areas are well defined. The costs are
covered in the contingency amount in the estimates, but are not specific
in amounts as they are unknown costs.
OBJECTION #5: The site
is too small for realistic future expansion. Co. Rd. 50 N is
only 20 feet wide at the site; utility lines are just 5 feet from the pavement
edge. There are no sidewalks available, nor is there even a berm
along the road. There's a 35 foot setback from Co. Rd. 50 N, and
a 75 foot drainage ditch setback on the west side; a 20 foot utility easement
on the east; and a large pit to the north. Though you can have parking
over the setback areas, you can not construct a building there.
Thus the actual building area is very limited, leaving very little
room for expansion.
And, should repairs under the paved areas
ever be required (for instance because of the drainage ditch), --the Library
Board (and thus the taxpayers) will have to pay the replacement bill.
RESPONSE #5: The present
library is 13,000+ square feet. The initial planning by the
board, with input from library builders, staff needs, and projection of
three times the square footage for a 50-75 year period, led us to plan
26,000+ square feet on one floor with an additional area to be used on
a lower level. In addition, there is available expansion to the south
and north of the planned building.
OBJECTION #6: There are
a number of items not included in the $10.5 million project cost:
"Reimbursable expenses of Architect". These are a number of items
which are in addition to compensation for the architect's services.
paragraph 13.9.2 of the A.I. A. Document, signed by the Library Board
Dec. 17, 2001, items such as these area[sic] extra:
"expenses incurred by the architect and architect's employees or consultants
directly related to the project". Under sub-items .1 - .8, "transportation
in connection with the project"; "fees paid for the necessary approval
of authorities having jurisdiction over the project"; "reproduction of
Paragraph 15.2 shows "standard
hourly rates": architect partner at $105/hr, down to clerical employee
at $35/hr. Here's an example: the architect has stated that
he would probably provide 200 sets of construction plans to bidders
for this project. When asked the cost he replied "from $8,500 to
Another cost not included.
And all of this PLUS a 6% of the construction costs fee!
How many more things are out there?
RESPONSE #6: The hourly rates
for clerical and other work categories are in the contract for billing
purposes. They are included in the fixed maximum fee of the contract.
Morrison Kattman Menze, Inc. had a lower fee than other firms interviewed.
Their firm is in the business of building libraries. The board feels
very comfortable and satisfied with this firm. Until a plan is firmly
in place, there are many unknowns. Therefore, the estimated project
cost of $5.7 million is given. That is the maximum that can be spent.
OBJECTION #7: Because the
unfinished basement level is considerably lower than the sewer line
connection, the architect has stated that a lift pump will be needed
to pump sewage up to the line. ANOTHER EXPENSE NOT INCLUDED in the
$10 1/2 million package! There will be a need for a telephone/computer
system as well as for a building security system-- these are also
included! Depending on the system chosen, this could run an additional
$10,000 - $20,000 ! Also, there doesn't appear to be a retention pond
-- necessary for storm water run-off --, nor safety fencing for
the pond in the $10 1/2 million project cost. And the list seems
to go on and on !
RESPONSE #7: The library
has less sewer and water usage than an average family home. A lift
pump, if needed, is included in the total project cost of $5.7 million.
The library board will, of necessity, determine the types of telephone/computer
and security systems needed. The library already deals with a specific
technology firm for computers and equipment, and is in the
process of automating library procedures and security.
The retention pond already on the grounds will be used as needed, landscaped,
and safety precautions will be added as needed.
The library does have some funds to direct toward the "finishing" efforts
of the building project. The Master Gardeners of LaGrange County
are looking forward to landscaping the site.
OBJECTION #8: The Umbaugh
contract for "Financial Advisory Services: signed by the Library Board
December 17, 2001, calls for a number of fees to be paid by them--all of
which are not included in the project cost. For instance, Article
2(a) , (B) and (C) would entitle them to fees from a minimum of $15,000
to $19,500. Under Article 3 (A), (B) and (C), fees due would
be an additional $3,800. PLUS the board will have to
pay them "actual time and expenses incurred, based upon the billing rate
of personnel involved": (who knows what that could cost since no figures
were given) for services; Under Article 1 (D)(d) "Objecting Petition/Remonstrance",
states: "Assist Library board in coordinating information and developing
strategies for a petition drive" as well as meeting with attorneys
etc. TAXPAYERS ARE THUS FORCES TO PAY THESE COSTS SO THE LIBRARY
BOARD CAN DEFEND IT'S ACTION TO SPEND $10.5 MILLION on a building with
a "dirt floor" , at a site too small for realistic future expansion. THAT'S
RESPONSE #8: The information
that H. J. Umbaugh & Associates have supplied was included in an initial
report to the library board in June, prior to the remonstrance introduction.
There have been no additional charges from the firm since that June report,
aside from a regular payment in keeping with the contract. A group
of interested and supportive library users and friends is funding the response
to the remonstrance and petitions, not the taxpayers through library funds.
OBJECTION #9: Abandoning
the current downtown location will add significantly to the DETERIORATION
OF DOWNTOWN LAGRANGE. An effort to relocate in the downtown area
would tend to give credence as a positive step that the community
is committed to maintaining our town and county as a progressive, stable
and prosperous county seat and community.
RESPONSE #9: The LaGrange
County Library serves the citizens of LaGrange County, not just the town
of LaGrange. The first area the library board considered
for building placement was in town. The main things the board feels
are necessary for the library are:
There was no location in town that could meet
these requirements. People who use the library will go to the library
no matter where it is. The present town location of the library has
not been a retaining feature for downtown business and activity, and we
do not see that it would "save" the downtown area if a block or more were
demolished to provide space for a new library that would meet the needs
Space on a single floor (25,000 square feet),
Room for expansion as needed for 50-75 years,
Accessibility for all persons (including to-the-door
Parking for 75 or more vehicles.
OBJECTION #10: For a project
as important as a county library, it seems that public input is vital,
along with coordination with the County Comprehensive Plan, and other updates
on the Strategic Plan. A process involving specifically invited county
officials and community leaders as well as the general public to a series
of meetings headed by a trained, neutral facilitator. These meetings
would address the following topics:
It is ONLY through a means such as this that
a plan can be developed that will fill the needs and be acceptable to a
MAJORITY of LaGrange County citizens. This has not been done prior
to the bond proposal, and frankly, the library board has mostly ignored
efforts to insert public input in the form of comments at the board meetings,
and through letters to the editors of local papers.
A detailed county library needs assessment--
A brainstorming session to determine what
we would like the library to be at least 10 years down the line.
A session devoted to how the library could/would
fit into the county plan. Such things as traffic patterns, growth
patterns, time usage, educational opportunities, etc. should all be considered.
One or two sessions to try to fit the "dreams"
from item 3 above into a "possibility" format.
Then and only then would the board begin to
discuss with architects proposals that would fit into the results of the
It should be noted that redoing all of the
planning and preparation, purchasing a site, looking at higher interest
rates, interviewing and hiring an architectural firm, and delaying building
for a few years could not possibly be any less costly than the project
expectations at the present time.
Needs Assessment: Seven years ago, after
public input, staff input, board visits to other libraries, and current
building assessment, it was suggested that a new
library could be built for less than the cost of renovation, which still
would not meet the criteria of space, accessibility, and parking.
At that point, it was estimated that a new building would cost about $3
million and and the cost would increase about $1 million per year.
Six years later, a cost increase of only $2.7 million dollars is actually
a bargain, especially with lower interest rates.
Board members, who are appointed by elected
individuals to represent the county residents, spoke with LaGrange town
officials, fire department representatives, county government officials,
friends, neighbors, library users, and library non-users. They formulated
plans for 50-75 years down the line. (See Library
Building Project, 1996-2001.)
At this time, a 1974 county comprehensive
plan is in effect. Libraries are generally a part of the residential
community and County Road 50N has become a residential area. The
presence of a library would enhance property values for nearby residents.
It would also be convenient--less than one mile from the center of the
county. Water and sewer access is available, and there is no need
for a deceleration lane. Meeting rooms of various sizes will be an
asset and parking will be available, as well as an accessible building--a
There were public meetings held, as well as
regular board meetings, which are open to the public for comments.
In February 2002, there were three days of public
meetings held morning, noon, afternoon, evening, and night for input
into the building of the library. A great many ideas
An architecture firm that specializes in building
libraries has a great deal of experience in combining ideas with necessities.