The Free Press, Mankato, MN

June 17, 2013

Waseca, Le Sueur counties re-tool library pact

By Brian Ojanpa

---- — A re-tooling of a decades-old library system will save money for Waseca and Waseca County taxpayers.

A pending new joint powers agreement involving Le Sueur and Waseca counties will dissolve a pact instituted in the late 1960s that included the city of Waseca as a partner in the bi-county library organization.

The new agreement will end the city of Waseca's involvement, resulting in a savings of $110,000 that should show up on Waseca County/Waseca property tax statements this fall.

Le Sueur County Administrator Darrell Pettis said the reconfiguration not only follows state statute but is more equitable for all parties involved with what is believed to be the last remaining joint powers library agreement in Minnesota.

"It really wasn't fair," Pettis said of the long-standing agreement. "Waseca was kind of being double-taxed" with building costs and library system costs.

The library system's headquarters is in the Waseca Public Library. Under the proposed new agreement, the city of Waseca will pay for library maintenance and utilities, and Le Sueur and Waseca counties will lease the headquarters space with fees going to offset upkeep and utilities costs.

Pettis said under the the current agreement about 60 percent of system costs are paid by Waseca and Waseca County, with Le Sueur County paying 40 percent.

The new pact calls for a 58 percent obligation for Le Sueur County and 42 percent for Waseca County.

The system has satellite libraries in Le Sueur, Montgomery, Le Center, Waterville and Elysian.