After library rejected board nominees, township cut funds
By Kelli Siehl, Staff Writer, The Times
POCOPSON — Taxation without representation may have started the American Revolution, but it seems to be also behind a simmering conflict between township officials and a local library.
Donna Murray, Director of the Bayard Taylor Memorial Library in Kennett Square, came to a recent Township Board of Supervisors’ meeting to share her excitement over some new programming and to inquire as to why the township did not budget any taxpayer money for the library last year.
Supervisors’ Vice-Chair, Georgia Brutscher told Murray that the township’s lack of participation “is not just an oversight.” Brutscher said it stems back to the township’s wanting representation on the library board.
The township advertised, interviewed and found two very good candidates, Brutscher said, and officials received an email instead of a phone call or formal letter letting them know the library did not accept either one.
Brutscher added that the township Board of Supervisors “thinks that if they are going to support the library, they would like to have some form of representation its board, and that is the reason there is a zero next to Pocopson” on the library’s donor list.
According to Murray, the nominating committee is looking for certain professions to fill vacant board seats because “finally, after 15 years, they can be successful in getting us a new library.”
Murray said that if the township pays its calculated fair share of $33,000, “they can appoint anyone they want,” referring to the amount based upon calculations that each municipality should voluntarily pay to support library services.
Murray told officials that all of the municipalities that pay their fair share amount have representation on the board. Is it fair for the supervisors to make the decision to withhold funding, she asked, when Pocopson residents robustly use the library?
Supervisors’ Chair, Ricki Stumpo answered, “If we are going to give you some money, we want our residents to be represented.”
Murray stressed her desire to work with township officials, and along with the library’s new president, Barbara Cairns, offered her apologies for the huge gap in communications between the library and the township. Cairns assured supervisors that she will touch base with the nominating committee and get back to the township about what skills are being sought for the library board.
In other business, Supervisor Matt Read outlined future plans for the township’s Deer Management Committee.
Read said after speaking to Chair, Don Lane and other members of the committee, Supervisors agreed to maintain the current committee membership for the remainder of the year. Supervisors said a definitive set of rules and regulations will be put in place when applications are accepted for admittance to the committee next season. He told those in attendance that an investigation found there was no misuse of funds by current committee members, as was alleged during a previous meeting.