The Monterey-Tippecanoe Township Public Library will be able to issue bonds for building improvements, following the approval of the Pulaski County Council Monday. Ryan Fetters with accounting firm Umbaugh and Associates said the bond issue won’t raise property taxes beyond their 2017 levels, although there will be a slight increase from the current rate.
“The step up in the tax rate’s going to be roughly, on an annual basis, $6.83 for someone living in a $92,000 home,” he explained. “That’s to get us back to where we were prior to this one-year dip. So it’s an additional. That house is paying, in total, $31.05, which would be about what it was paying back in 2017.” For agricultural land, the increase would be about 40 cents an acre.
Fetters said that returning to the 2017 tax rate will allow the library to borrow about $370,000, depending on interest rates. That money will be used on a variety of repairs and improvements to the existing library building.
Architect Harry Mohler said the biggest issue is exterior waterproofing. “The issue is how things were constructed a hundred years ago,” he explained. “The concrete was not like concrete today. It had no steel. We’ve found bricks, all kinds of slate in the actual foundation walls, which just let water though. They’ve had water coming into their basement, just in the hundred-year-old Carnegie, and anytime water gets through the concrete, then it starts to create mold and ruin the plaster.”
Mohler said waterproofing the foundation will require excavating all around the building, which in turn, will mean that the landscaping will have to be redone. Other planned improvements include sidewalk and parking lot repairs, as well as new outdoor seating and a bike rack.
The fire alarm panel will get an upgrade, and the storage room will get new shelving along with mold damage repair. The library will also get new carpeting, paint, and LED lighting. Plaster will be repaired in the original Carnegie building, and windows will be upgraded according to historic preservation guidelines. The library may also need a new well, among other improvements.
However, the cost estimates are preliminary, and Fetters said that the work will be formally bid out, before the library makes a final decision about how much money to borrow. Council member Ken Boswell urged library officials to keep the borrowing to a minimum, if possible. “If the bids come in under, I would like to see that excess money returned to the taxpayer,” he said, “to bring that tax rate down a little bit, so they get a little bit of a benefit from that.”
The bond will be paid back over a 20-year period.