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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of Nov 27 - Dec 3, 2002


Hailey Council, P&Z to move out of City Hall

Library will take over 
city’s meeting room

Express Staff Writer

Hailey City Council members Monday endorsed a plan to move all city-related meetings out of the Town Center building’s first-floor meeting room to accommodate an expansion of the Hailey Public Library.

Councilman Rick Davis, the council’s appointed liaison to the Hailey Public Library, said he has confirmed an arrangement with Blaine County officials to hold Hailey City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission meetings in the commissioners’ chambers of the Old County Courthouse in Hailey for a one-year period.

Davis said the new arrangement is scheduled to begin in January. He noted that all December meetings that have been scheduled to take place in the Hailey Town Center first-floor meeting room will not be relocated.

"Meetings that have been noticed in this room will take place in this room," he said.

Davis said he is investigating options for the city to construct sometime next year a new meeting room in the Hailey Town Center—also called the Fox Building.

"We’re covered for a year," he said.

Davis explained that the city will have to choose whether it wants to reconfigure part of the upstairs of the Town Center currently occupied by the College of Southern Idaho, or build an altogether new meeting room in the building’s basement. The college plans to move its Hailey office to a new location in approximately one year.

The city has not set aside any money in the current 2002-2003 fiscal-year budget to construct a new meeting room. Davis said the city in 2003 will need to determine how much it can spend on such a project.

While council members did not vote on the decision to move the city meetings, the plan was presented as a firm decision on the part of the city to be out of the meeting room by January.

Hailey Public Library trustees in September initiated a plan to expand the library into the meeting room, and in recent weeks reiterated a commitment to making the move in January.

Trustees have argued that the library is entitled to use of the entire first floor of the Hailey Town Center as part of a 1994 federal grant agreement. The library received approximately $294,000 in 1994, which was used to remodel the first floor of the Town Center.

The expansion plan did not gain outright city support until former mayor Al Lindley resigned on Nov. 8. Prior to his departure, Lindley served as the main liaison between the city and the library.

Library officials have maintained that Lindley opposed the expansion plan and made repeated efforts to stifle its progress.

Library Director Ann Tabler said last week that the former mayor exhibited "strong opposition to the library’s planned expansion."

Indeed, following a Sept. 10 meeting between Tabler, Lindley and City Attorney Ned Williamson, library trustees issued a letter to Lindley stating that they wanted at least two board members present during all negotiations with the city "because of actions taken by (Lindley’s) office."

Bege Reynolds, vice president of the library board, said last week that Lindley exhibited "inappropriate behavior" toward Tabler during negotiations, particularly by using "intimidation tactics."

Reynolds said she believed the library gave the city appropriate notice of the plan.

"We sent them a letter in September, and told them we would like to take over the space in four months," she said.

Reynolds said council members in recent years have generally been in support of the library’s causes, and the debate was not one of whether the library was placing unreasonable demands on the city.

Davis last week agreed, noting that almost all communication about the matter went through the former mayor’s office, and council members were typically not involved in the discussions.

However, he acknowledged that while "it could be argued either way" whether the library was entitled to the meeting room, the federal grant included provisions that some of the money must be returned if the terms of the agreement are not met.



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