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Gladstone rejects library plan, installs critic on council, renews levies

The city of Gladstone received a clear message Tuesday night on building a $12.6 million proposed new library: Not this plan.

The measure, which failed by a 44 to 55 percent margin, would have authorized the city to incur up to $7.5 million in debt to build the library. The $1,189,278 the city has already spent would be wasted if the project is not completed.

The library message also seemed to have spilled over into a key City Council race.

Walt Fitch, who was appointed in April, was the first councilor to propose letting voters have a say on a funding plan for the library. At a special meeting in August, councilors referred a measure to voters.

Fitch lost election to City Council by about 61 to 38 percent to Planning Commissioner Neal Reisner, who voted last year against library project plans in a 3-3 split. Gladstone councilors Len Nelson and Tom Mersereau ran unopposed.

Voters’ approval of two measures on May 15 put the hurdle in place for the Gladstone library project that City Council approved on Aug. 15, 2011. Gladstone building expenditures larger than $1 million, or using urban-renewal financing, are now subject to voter approval.

While Fitch didn’t have a statement in the Voters’ Pamphlet, Reisner wrote that Gladstone needs to establish a plan to repair and replace its infrastructure, which includes the City Hall, police station, sewer system, fresh water system and library.

“I support citizen involvement, citizen committees, and respect their input,” Reisner said. “I will listen and process every available informational resource and will keep an open mind while making informed decisions.”

Operating levies

Gladstone voters renewed by more than 3-1 margins the operating levies of $0.31 per $1,000 for fire and medical services, and of $0.68 per $1,000 for police services, for five years beginning 2014-15. The measures allocate more than $4 million during this time period to maintain current public-safety staffing, and to set aside capital funds for future purchases of fire engines and rescue vehicles.




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