Finally, the county has put pen to paper about its contribution to the Chapel Hill Public Library. Unfortunately, the paper was not from a checkbook. Instead, the Orange County manager penned, with flourish and a year’s supply of “Whereas-es,” a document that spells out what it might contribute, under the right circumstances.
The signature lines on the Interlocal Agreement by and Between Orange County and the Town of Chapel Hill Regarding Funding of the Chapel Hill Municipal Library and Improved Interoperability of Library Systems does not include any names, just titles, which implies that the document might not get signed before the next election. So, this seems like the county manager recognizes that this is not a final draft.
And given the lack of teeth and the layers of conditions, let’s hope that the Chapel Hill town attorney and the two lawyers who serve on council can come up with a few clauses that hold the county responsible for its financial contribution to the Chapel Hill Public Library.
Basically, the agreement proposes raising the county’s current contribution of 18 percent of the county library system’s operational costs ($250,000, which translates into 10 percent of the Chapel Hill library’s $2,397,235 operating budget for 2010-11) 3 percent a year through 2015, at which time the contribution of $472,500 would be 30 percent of the county’s library system costs (14 percent of the Chapel Hill library’s $3,429,924 expected operating budget).
However, the county’s contribution is only a “goal” and an “intent.” If the county increases its library system budget by less than 3 percent any given year, it reduces its contribution to the town accordingly, and if the county reduces its operating budget in any year, the county won’t give any increase to the town that year. The document is clear that the county contribution won’t fall below $250,000, the same amount it has contributed for how many years now?
But at least everyone came to the table, and we have points committed in writing from which to begin discussion. The Town Council will weigh in at tonight’s council meeting.
On a completely unrelated note, does anyone else hear the high-pitched mechanical sound that has reverberated around the clock for the past week or so? Having lived in New York for so many years, I automatically tune out extraneous background noise, except in places where I expect it to be quiet. So I first heard it on my screened porch, and thought it was something related to construction in our neighborhood. But then I noticed it continues day and night and Sundays. Today I heard it at the library but wasn’t aware of it on campus. (Then again, see aforementioned reference to “quiet.”)
I’ve come to the conclusion that it is some enterprising property owner’s solution to drive deer away. Anyone else have any insight?
– Nancy Oates