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There have been hurt feelings in city of Clermont on the Hall County commissioners' recent decision to construct a library in North Hall at the site of the Nopone Road park.
I invite the citizens of Hall County to look at the park location in Clermont across from Concord Baptist Church and the Nopone site and decide on your own if your county commission made the correct decision.
After all, it is all the residents of Hall County who own the library system and pay taxes for its operation.
The Hall County Library Board does not own the buildings. The board does not raise taxes for the purchase of property or even the operation of its buildings. Its job is to make sure the library staff stays on task with the funding the county provides, and when it builds a library it is designed for library purposes.
The first time the commission ever voted on an official site was at its Feb. 25 meeting. The SPLOST vote allowed the county to collect sales tax for the construction of a North Hall library. That is what the ballot reads.
Once the SPLOST passed, I wrote a nonbinding grant and used the property at Clermont as the location knowing it could change since the grant process is incredibly long. I did this on Commissioner Steve Gailey's presentation to the library board on Feb. 24, 2009, that the county-owned property in Clermont that could be used as a site to build a library. He used the word "could" because it is up to the entire county commission to make that decision. Commissioner Ashley Bell attended that meeting. The grant was sent March 10, 2009.
I would have been remiss not to put a grant application in with Georgia Public Library Service for $2 million when I did knowing how incredibly long it takes for a construction grant to work its way through the system.
Currently, the North Hall grant is project No. 31 on the state's ranking and in typical years there are only five or six grants funded. Do the math yourself to see how long it takes to become eligible for state assistance.
The library system's grant application does not commit the county to build a library at the location in the grant. This was confirmed to The Times by Georgia Public Library Services' Construction Manager Nate Rall, since counties frequently change the site because local conditions change.
The commission chairs signature on the grant only indicates he is aware of the grant application but does not commit the county to build. Only the majority of the county commission can decide location or even to proceed with construction. In the case of this library in North Hall, it was decided less than four weeks ago by a 4-1 vote to build at Nopone Road.
I once again invite the citizens of Hall County to decide where the best location for the investment of its tax dollars would be. You decide and let your commissioners know.