James Johnson, Jr., Chair
 
900 North Ashley Drive
Tampa, Florida 33602
James Martin, Jr., Vice-Chair
William Scheuerle, Secretary
 
Phone: (813) 273-3660
Fax: (813) 273-3707

Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library Board

MINUTES FROM THE JULY 26, 2001 PUBLIC LIBRARY BOARD MEETING
JAN KAMINIS PLATT REGIONAL LIBRARY, 4-6pm

CALL TO ORDER:

The meeting was called to order at 4:10pm.

ROLL CALL AND ATTENDANCE OF STAFF & SPECIAL GUESTS:

Library Board Members Present:
Sandra Cameron, Anniece Ross
Dora Reeder, Helen Swisshelm
Mary Silver

Library Board Excused:
Mary Sherman, Bill Scheuerle
Ian Greig, Kay O'Rourke

Library Board Absent:
Margaret Fisher

Library Staff Present:
Joe Stines, Director of Libraries
Marcee Challener, Manager Public Service
David Wullschleger, Manager Operations & Technology
Linda Gillon, Manager Staff & Administrative Support

Suzanne George, Facilities Coordinator
Gina DuBois, Administrative Services
Barbara Marquette, Administrative Assistant
 

Special Guests:
Assistant County Attorney, Linda Davidson

Members of the Public:
Maureen Gauzza, President, Friends of Upper Tampa Bay Library

APPROVAL OF THE JUNE 28, 2001 MINUTES

A quorum was present. The minutes were accepted with corrections.

CHAIRMAN'S REPORT

None.

PRESENTATIONS FROM THE PUBLIC/SPECIAL GUESTS:

None.

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

PLANNING COMMITTEE:

None.

BUDGET COMMITTEE:

Chairman, Helen Swisshelm stated that the Budget Committee met on July 26, 2001 at 3:00 p.m. The Budget Committee had requested information so as to draft a letter to be sent to the BOCC. The purpose of this letter is to offer the Library Board's comments to the BOCC of the items flagged at their Budget Hearing. 1) The Library Board recommends adding back to the FY 03 budget approximately $200,000 needed to keep full Sunday service at the John F. Germany Library; 2) the Library Board recommends restoring the approximately $420,000 in the Library's FY 03 budget in order to continue the appropriate level of service in South Tampa. Staff has developed charts that will be attached to the letter. Mr. Stines explained each chart. The first chart shows that Peninsular's circulation has not dropped as expected. Compared to the average of all other medium size branches Peninsular is doing more business than all of them. The second chart shows that although Peninsular and Port Tampa have had circulation decline, there is still a net gain of 120,888 books being circulated in South Tampa. 3) Recommend funding $271,000 necessary for the computer upgrade in FY 03 budget.

The committee made the motion to send the letter to the Board of County Commissioners. There was no discussion. The motion passed unanimously.

POLICIES & BYLAWS COMMITTEE:

None.

INTERNET USE SUBCOMMITTEE:

None.

PUBLIC ART:

None.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS:

Nominating Committee: Chairman, Dora Reeder stated that the Nominating Committee met on June 22 and presented the 2001-2002 nominees: William Scheuerle, Chairman; Helen Swisshelm, Vice Chairman; and Kay O'Rourke, Secretary. The Chairman asked for nominations from the floor. There were none. Mrs. Reeder made the motion that the slate of officers be presented to the Board for approval. The motion to approve passed unanimously.

NEW BUSINESS:

Upper Tampa Bay Library Project: Mr. Stines summarized the three potential sites identified for the Upper Tampa Bay Library and stated that two public siting meetings have been held. The sites are 1) Terra Brooke - Countryway, 2) Bill Bishop - Highland Park; 3) Lynn Haber - Nine Eagles. During a review of Terra Brooke by the County it was discovered that there had been a proposed road through this property and that the impact fees had been credited but the road was never built. Board's consideration of a motion directing Mike Kelly, Director, Real Estate, to negotiate a contract with Terra Brook (Countryway) with the following stipulations: 1) that the property be within budget; and 2) that Mr. Kelly address and solve the visibility and access issues was suggested.

Mr. Stines stated "he has not been able to find anyone from USF to voluntarily do a study that would address Ms. O'Rourke's concerns regarding the power lines that are on the Countryway property. However, he will continue to research the Electro Magnetic Frequency (EMF) issue." From the studies it is very clear that the issue is still very debatable. Several reports clearly state that there is no proven research that there are major health problems with EMF. There are higher Workman's Compensation claims among employees who work near power lines. Employees go to the doctor thinking they are ill, but there is no documented evidence that their illness is related to working near power lines. There is no scientific proof that power lines are responsible for any health risks. The issue is still under debate in the scientific community.

Ms. Swisshelm asked if Mr. Stines had spoken to the library staff. He stated that he had spoken to several school officials since there are elementary schools built near power lines and that there is no evidence of health risks. There is one article that shows insurance rates for some companies have been higher due to an increase in worker's compensation claims. There have been a few studies that have shown that property values have not risen and sometimes declined on homes that are built near power lines. Present research results are contradictory.

Ms. Swisshelm then asked "how close would the library be to those power lines?" Mr. Stines stated that he thought that the set back was 500 feet and that the building would be no closer to the power lines than the existing housing development. With a seven-acre parcel we would have the option of building as far away as possible.

The other concern heard at one of the public siting meetings came from a person who did not want to drive under the power lines to get to the library. Mr. Kelly will negotiate for access across the property adjacent to the Countryway site so access would be positioned north of the power lines. Ms. Cameron asked "Are you saying there would be nothing under the power lines?" Mr. Stines stated that you could not build anything under the power lines, not even the parking lot because of the natural gas lines, reclaimed water, and possible telecommunication lines. There is concern that in order to build a road under the power lines we would probably have to improve the depth at which some of these utilities are buried. But the proposal that Mr. Kelly will try to negotiate would mean building north of the power lines and would not require a road under them.

Ms. Swisshelm asked "How much of the seven acres is left after we eliminate all the set backs?" Mr. Stines stated that it would be a minimum of five acres and that the County's Architectural Services Department has assured us that there is sufficient land to build the library. The price quoted takes into consideration the land that is in the right of way of the power lines and the other utilities.

Mr. Stines stated that this motion would only allow Mr. Kelly to complete negotiations. Ms. Swisshelm made the motion to have Mike Kelly negotiate a contract with Terra Brook Development as a possible site for the Upper Tampa Bay Library with the two stipulations. Ms. Reeder seconded the motion.

Discussion followed. Maureen Gauzza, President, Friends of Upper Tampa Bay, stated that she agreed with Mr. Stines' suggestions, stating that negotiations need to be completed. She does not feel that there will be any future commercial buildings in the area that would interfere with the visibility of the library. Ms. Gauzza has been in contact with the Westchase CDD chairperson and a CDD representative in Coral Springs, FL who stated that since the library was a government building and it will be open to the public the issue of waiving the maintenance fees could be discussed. Ms. Gauzza will forward this information to Mr. Kelly as well as the name of the CDD representative.

Ms. Swisshelm stated that she regretted that Kay O'Rourke, the Planning Committee's chair was not present at the meeting especially since she had strong feelings regarding the power lines. Ms. Gauzza stated that the school board study indicates that there are no considerable concerns. Mr. Stines responded that we are waiting for that study and that the staff would make an appointment to meet with elementary school principals of schools near power lines.

Mary Silver stated that she would like to know what the minimum setback is and that it would be interesting to talk to the Westchase Elementary School principal from the stand point of the parents of those children.

Ms. Silver complemented the community for its involvement with this project. Ms. Cameron asked whether Mr. Stines had asked for permission to have Mr. Kelly negotiate Bill Bishop's, Highland Park property as well as Terra Brook. Mr. Stines responded no, but following a vote on this motion he had several other suggestions to make to the Board. Ms. Cameron called for the vote: The motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Stines noted that there was not a full Board present and since the chair of the Planning Committee was not present, he asked the Board for direction regarding the other sites in addition to the motion that was passed. Ms. Ross moved that appropriate persons meet with Lynn Haber notifying them that the Board is negotiating with Terra Brook and ask them their intentions regarding their property. Ms. Swisshelm seconded the motion.

Ms. Ross stated that she has personal apprehensions about EMF, saying "I wouldn't say for myself that the presence of the power lines on the property near the library would be sufficient reason at this time for me to say that it is not a suitable site." Ms. Cameron called for the vote. The motion passed unanimously.

After further discussion, Board consensus was that a field trip be arranged to visit the Upper Tampa Bay Library sites.

Over the past several meetings Board members have suggested various workshops. Mr. Stines suggested that these be held approximately every other month. He asked the Board to approve Statistics, Organization, and New Technology as the first three topics. Marcee Challener stated that the reason Statistics was scheduled first was that in case any changes in the format were made they could be implemented by October 1st coinciding with the new fiscal year.

Ms. Silver asked "How much will we be affected as far as technology goes with the new law regarding filtered and unfiltered access being tied to federal funds?" Mr. Stines responded that the library does not receive any federal funds directly and is not currently receiving any E Rate money. The State FIRN E-Rate monies will be considered and reports regarding LSTA and any other federal money coming through the State Library will be supplied to the State Library. We await their direction.

DIRECTOR'S REPORT:

South Brandon Library Project: On July 11th following audience comment from fourteen individuals, the BOCC voted five to one to refer the issue back to the Library Board for review in a public meeting. This referral means that Real Estate and Library Services did not present details of the two options to the BOCC. Based on audience comment the BOCC noted several issues, which were not known at the time the Library Board voted on a recommendation. These are: (1) a new offer by the owner of the East Bloomingdale High School site to donate one additional acre. (2) An offer by a representative of Fishawk for free land for a future library 2.5 miles south of the Lithia site. (3) Availability of more detailed, factual information on traffic flow and stormwater retention costs for both sites from County Public Works staff. This item has been placed on the September 5, 2001, BOCC agenda and Library Director, Joe Stines has been assigned to bring a revised recommendation to the BOCC. Mr. Stines asked the Library Board to consider assigning the August 23 agenda of the Library Board to the South Brandon Library project and suggested the meeting be held in south Brandon. The purpose of this meeting will be to review all documentation available to the Library Board so it may forward its decision to the BOCC. A packet of information containing all relevant information would be mailed to the Board prior to the meeting.

Discussion followed as to whether the Planning Committee should meet to discuss the three new issues prior to the August 23rd Library Board meeting, since the Library Board had already made its recommendation. Ms. Ross stated that having additional information on traffic and stormwater would be beneficial but that it would not necessarily change her position. "The Board has made a decision and is being asked to reconsider, in the light of new information, whether the Board wishes to change its recommendation. The Library Board has had public meetings previously on this issue and at the Board meeting where this decision was made the public was present." Mr. Stines stated that there was some confusion about the public meetings.

Ms. Reeder made the motion that the Board meeting be changed from the John F. Germany Library to a neutral location in South Brandon on the 23rd of August at 6:00 p.m. Ms. Swisshelm seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.

The Board asked that a tour of the South Brandon sites be scheduled on August 20th.

The Lutz Library Expansion discussion was deferred to the September Library Board meeting.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

None.

ADJOURNMENT:

Meeting adjourned at 6:45pm

Next Library Board Meeting:
         Date: August 23, 2001
         Time: 4pm-6pm
         Location: John F. Germany Public Library

                 - Unless notified otherwise


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