Mayor pro-tem suggests regaining control of library

During Thursday night's joint meeting of the Sunnyside School Board and the Sunnyside City Council, Mayor Pro-tem Mike Farmer offered a suggestion concerning the local library.

Farmer wants to enter into discussions with the school district to find a way to take back operation of the Sunnyside Public Library from the Yakima Valley Regional Library System.

"We should look at some kind of joint venture between the city and the school district," said Farmer.

The Sunnyside City Council opted during budget discussions last year to put before local voters the issue of whether or not to support an additional 50¢ per thousand assessed property value tax to keep the library open under the operation of the Yakima Valley Regional Library. Voters approved that tax earlier this year. Council members then relinquished control of the library to the county-wide system.

The regional library system is set to take control of the Sunnyside library at the beginning of 2005.

Farmer suggested the partnership with the local school district because he said he feels city residents will be shortchanged by the regional library system. Farmer said the financial figures regional library officials are releasing show that Sunnyside residents are paying more into the system than they are getting.

"I think we can take that same 50¢ and do just as good or better," said Farmer.

Councilwoman Bengie Aguilar, who is involved with the Sunnyside Library Board, said regional library officials do have a plan in place to improve the local facility. Aguilar said she would like to see them given the opportunity to improve the facility before any talks of taking back the library happen.

Sunnyside School District Superintendent Dr. Rick Cole didn't rule out such a discussion between the district and the city. Cole did caution there would have to be some changes made in the materials offered at the library if the district managed the facility because of the youths who would use it.

. Mike Kantman can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or email him at


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