The Village of Cottage Grove has formed an official library board, taking another small step towards exploring building a library in the village.

The Cottage Grove Village Board of Directors voted on Monday, September 20 to form the Board of Directors, with Board Member Troy Allen and Village President John Williams dissenting.

The Library Planning Committee, an ad hoc committee formed in 2019, studied the cost of operating and building a library, investigated tax impacts and fundraising opportunities, and considered next steps. potential of the project.

The committee recommended this summer the formation of a board of directors of the library and the realization of a financial feasibility study with an external consultant, in order to assess the size of a fundraising campaign that the village could carry out. , as the next steps towards a possible library project. A financial study could cost around $ 20,000, committee members said, with outside organizations already pledging financial support.

Melissa Ratcliff, village board member and library planning committee member, said forming a library board is a necessary step in deciding whether or not to build a library in the town.

“We were able to get a rough idea of ​​the cost, however, this estimate is not accurate in determining how much the cost to taxpayers will be without further assessment and consideration of what a library would include and how much can be collected,” Ratcliff mentioned. . “This is additional work that a library board will be able to do. “

Initial operational cost estimates, generated by the library’s planning committee, are approximately $ 500,000 per year, including staff salaries and benefits, training, programming, technology, utilities and building maintenance.

Initial estimates of the capital costs for building a library were between $ 5.2 million and $ 7.5 million.

A cost summary in the report presented to the village council in early July indicated that the village may also incur additional costs in the project beyond the capital expenditure related to the construction of a building. These could include architectural design services, furniture and fixtures, potentially reimbursable roadwork costs, and other broader costs, putting broader estimates between $ 9.5 million and $ 12.4 million. dollars.

Allen and Williams, who both opposed the creation of the board, have both previously expressed an interest in conducting a feasibility study before forming a library board, in order to assess the community’s willingness to financially support the library. project.

The village of Cottage Grove voted this summer to contact the Wisconsin Department of Education, sending a letter, to initiate the process of forming a library board.

Members of the library board will be appointed at the next village meeting, which is handled by the village president. Ratcliff said the planning committee has affirmed that committee members could continue to serve on the library’s official board.

“LPC members are in the best position to understand and comply with the requirements of this complicated process as well as the recommendations of the village council to continue to make it the most effective process and to make it successful for our community – this includes taking into account consider the tax implications of the project, ”Ratcliff said.

The library planning committee also has a potential site under consideration on Cottage Grove Road, west of Glacial Drumlin School and south of Granite Ridge School, said Ratcliff, who is part of the association for purpose. Friends of the Cottage Grove nonprofit.

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