January Task Force notes: Imagining a New Library & More

Meeting Date: January 19, 2016
Large Community Room, Pleasant Hill City Hall, 100 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523

 Michael Harris, Pleasant Hill City Council
 Sue Noack, Pleasant Hill City Council
 Bill Bankert, Planning Commission
 Sandra Bonato, PH Rec & Park District
 Jack Prosek, Pleasant Hill Library Fund
 Patrick Remer, PH Library
 Katherine Bracken, PH Library Commissioner
 Kim Brandt, Resident
 Wend Gollop, resident
 Lenore Krause, resident
 Jim Kennedy, Consultant, Contra Costa County
 June Catalano, City Manager
 Danielle Habr, City staff
 Martin Nelis, City staff

Public Comment
Kim Brandt distributed a proposed resolution in support of the Pleasant Hill Recreation and Park District’s efforts to purchase the 10 acre parcel known as the Oak Park Elementary school site. She stated that she and others would be attending the next City Council meeting to ask the Council to adopt this resolution.

Update from County staff
Jim Kennedy, consultant to Contra Costa County, reported that staff had its kickoff meeting with the Dahlin Group, which has been hired by the committee to oversee the planning process for the three county owned properties. Dahlin is familiarizing itself with the project that will be setting up meetings with city and county planning staff in the near future. They will also be developing a timeline to oversee the development process for the three parcels and this should be available in spring 2016.

With respect to the properties, Mr. Kennedy reported that discussions with the recreation and Park District were ongoing and that they were scheduled to meet again on January 27, 2016. The district has submitted their appraisals of the 10 acre parcel to County staff. He stated that these appraisals were significantly lower than the value estimated by the county for the 10 acre site.
Regarding the financing of the library itself, Mr. Kennedy stated that the Board of Supervisors had pledged that if the city chooses to build a new library on the current library site, the county would give that portion of the property for the library at no cost to the city. If the city chose to locate the new library on a different site, the county would contribute money from the sale of the current library site. The county would allocate the amount from the sale equivalent to
approximately 2.5 acres of the site, which is approximately the amount of land required for the new library and parking area.

In response to a question from Jack Prosek, Mr. Kennedy stated that the county would like to conclude negotiations with the Recreation and Park District in the near future given that they are beyond the 90 day required negotiation period.

Reports from Sub-committees
Needs Assessment
In response to a question from Kim Brandt, Chair Harris stated that the task force had decided that the optimum size of the library should be between 20,000 and 25,000 sq.ft. He stated that the task force had arrived at this approximate size for the library based on consultations with library staff, site visits to other libraries, and discussions regarding usage and needs for the Pleasant Hill library. Pleasant Hill librarian, Patrick Remer, also stated that in a 2003 needs assessment report the number used was 25,000 ft.2 for a new library.

Outreach Subcommittee
Patrick Remer distributed a draft document entitled “Imagining the Pleasant Hill Library” which outlined a description of the various components that might make up a new library facility including:
 Library collections and open floor plan
 Expanded children and family area
 Large teen area with 21st-century technology
 Flexible program spaces
 Conference rooms and study spaces
 State-of-the-art technology and equipment
 Outside gardens; and
 Friends of the library bookstore

Funding Subcommittee
Chair Harris reported that he had met with the Funding subcommittee recently to talk about starting a donation campaign to assist with library programs and possibly a separate fund to help with a future campaign or ballot measure related to library funding. He mentioned that he was prepared to donate money to be used in a matching campaign by the Friends of the Library group.
In response to questions from Kim Brandt and Sandy Bonato, Mayor Noack stated that funding subcommittee had a preliminary discussion with a financial expert on funding for public projects, Mark Northcross, about nine months previously. The subcommittee discussed three possible mechanisms for funding a new library including a bond measure, parcel tax or sales tax increase.
Ms. Brandt enquired why the City couldn’t just borrow money in the same way that was done to build the City Hall complex. Mayor Noack explained that any additional funds available in the
general fund were committed to deferred maintenance on streets, storm drains and providing additional library hours.

Patrick Remer reported that the City of Oakley City Council had recently voted to place a parcel tax on the June ballot to fund the construction of a new 20,000 sf library at a cost of $12 million.

Future Meetings
The Task Force agreed to meet again at 11:00 a.m. on February 22, 2016. The Task Force adjourned at 11:48 am.