CORINTH — It was no surprise to those present that the City Council voted Thursday night to end their partnership with the Lake Cities Library in six months.
Subsequently, after approving the six-month contract, the council voted to allocate $10,000 for exploring alternative library and reading services for Corinth residents. The council voted unanimously in favor on the six-month interlocal agreement.
During the meeting, a few library board members and employees were present to show their support for the library, but already knew what the outcome would be before for the vote was taken, they said.
“There was no debating. They had already made their decision before the meeting,” library board member Bill Knox said.
Knox said the next step will be to meet with library board members and the other partner cities — Lake Dallas, Hickory Creek and Shady Shores — that also fund the library.
Earlier this week, Lake Dallas Mayor Tony Marino made it clear that he won’t let the library close and he said he will do whatever he can to make sure services aren’t severely cut.
With six months to work with before the partnership ends, Corinth City Council members said they will explore alternative library service options for their residents.
“As of now, the library is fully funded for six months and it’s free to our residents,” Mayor Paul Ruggiere said. “So our residents can still use the library until March.”
During the meeting, council member Mike Amason suggested allocating $10,000 to purchase 200 Denton Public Library cards. With the purchase, Amason said the Denton Public Library would provide four reading programs, four times a year in Corinth.
Although many council members thought purchasing the cards was a good idea, they voted Amason’s motion down, 3-2. They said they want to explore other options before making a deal with Denton, which may not be the best alternative.
“I don’t have enough data to support this,” council member Randy Gibbons said.
Gibbons said he wants to research how many Corinth residents already use the Denton library and whether or not other partnerships with other libraries can be formed.
Interim City Manager Jim Berzina also cautioned the council and warned them not to lock themselves into an agreement or rush into anything without making sure it’s the best option.
City officials said the relationship with the Lake Cities Library became strained recently over the cost. The cost that each of the Lake Cities communities puts into the library is based on each city’s total population. But council members have questioned how many Corinth residents use the library on a regular basis and if the library services are worth the more than $90,000 a year that the city has allocated in recent years.
Knox said the council’s decision is unfortunate because it was based on misinformation.
“We’ve given them everything they asked for, and they still weren’t happy,” he said.
Under the new agreement, the city has agreed to pay the library $49,000, and the contract period lasts from Oct. 1 to March 31. The contract may be terminated at any time by either party by giving 60 days written notice of the termination.
Corinth officials said they hope to have an alternative option available to residents before the end of the contract with the Lake Cities Library.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @JDHarden.