Garfield County library district moving forward with selling COPs
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – While the city tries to figure out how best to keep the local branch of the Garfield County libraries in the downtown area, the library district is getting ready to move.
The question of where, exactly, the Glenwood Springs Branch Library will move to remains an open question, but for now the move is one of raising money.
“We are moving forward with selling COPs,” said library district director Amelia Shelley on Monday, referring to the district’s planned method to sell Certificates of Participation to raise the projected $6 million it will take to build a new library.
The COPs would be sold to investors, and repaid using the district’s property tax revenues, Shelley said.
The district wants to find a new site in the Glenwood Springs area because its current facility, at Ninth and Blake, is too small for the citizens’ needs. Also involved is Colorado Mountain College – both the college and the library need more parking than they currently have.
Shelley, along with local attorney Charlie Willman, head of the Downtown Development Authority, had recently warned City Council that the library district needs to sell the COPs in October, for a number of reasons.
Chief among those reasons are the library board’s fears about a trio of tax-and-spend-limitation ballot questions that will go before Colorado voters in November.
As have local government entities across the state, the library board has concluded that if Amendments 60 or 61, or Proposition 101 are approved by voters, they will severely curtail local governments’ abilities to borrow money for public projects.
Shelley also had been concerned that the COPs could not be sold to investors without a proposed site for the new library under contract, or at least firmly promised.
On Monday, however, she said the district’s bond counsel had informed her that the COPs could be sold even without a definitive site in hand.
“It just makes it exponentially more complicated,” she said of the process, “but it can be done.”
The district, the city, the DDA and CMC have a list of potential sites, including a couple of city-owned parking lots.
Talks have focused on a need for a parking garage of some sort to serve the new facilities as well as replace the spaces that would be lost.
“We can’t stay downtown without adequate parking,” said Shelley.
She noted that at least one other potential site, adjacent to the Glenwood Meadows shopping center, has plenty of parking, “but it’s not downtown.”
She said the bond counsel’s said that, even though it’s alright to move ahead with plans to sell the COPs, the district needs to have a site in hand by the end of September.
The city, after declining to rush to get a question on the November ballot asking voters for permission to dispose of publicly owned land, is now aiming at a special election in December for the same purpose, once a site is selected.
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