The Hall County Board of Commissioners discussed ways to compromise with the city of Clermont on the library issue at its work session Monday.
Commissioner Bobby Banks said following a March 1 meeting with Clermont Mayor James Nix, he would like the commission to consider building a smaller library in Clermont in addition to the North Hall library that was recently approved at Nopone Road.
“The first recommendation is to upgrade the library as it sits now,” Banks said. “Then, when and if the state sends $2 million (in library grant funding) up here, we could cut off a piece of that land up there and build a smaller version of the Spout Springs library for $2 million.”
Nix, who attended the work session, will discuss the proposal with his city council at its regularly scheduled meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
“What the people in Clermont really wanted, the only thing they would be willing to settle for, was a library,” Nix said. “The need for library facilities up there will grow in the future.”
Assistant County Administrator Phil Sutton said state granting that Hall County may receive for the North Hall library, which will now be built on Nopone Road, could not be used for a different facility in Clermont.
“Those grants are always site specific,” Sutton said. “You can’t move state money around with that kind of discretion.”
The county has applied for a matching grant from the Board of Regents to help fund the North Hall library. But that grant is not certain yet as the state has not completed its budget.
Sutton said it may be possible to apply for additional funding for a Clermont library should the board vote to pursue that.
County Administrator Charley Nix spoke on behalf of absent commissioner Ashley Bell by saying the library board should weigh in on any plan before a decision is made.
Commissioner Billy Powell agreed.
“Whatever we do as far as upgrading or doing whatever, I want to know once again what does the library board recommend we do, what’s the scope of what we’re going to do, how much it’s going to cost and where the money’s going to come from before I vote,” he said.