Clinton Discusses Financing New Library

A workshop concerning the proposed penny sales tax to fund capital improvements in Laurens County was held by Clinton City Council last night. Council met for the workshop in council chambers at the M.S. Bailey Municipal Center for one hour prior to their regularly scheduled December meeting. The city must have a proposal for improvements to be funded by the capital expenditures sales tax (if voters do approve it) by January 24th.

Among the items generating the most discussion was the possible relocation of the Clinton Public Library. While the city has not officially selected a site, all of the discussion has centered around the former Industrial Supply building on West Main in Clinton. Clinton has spent some $15,000 for a study conducted by Wheeler and Wheeler and has viewed their concept of how the structure would look after renovations.

Council member Ronnie Roth expressed concerns about the project. He said he really wants to see the project work, but he said the projected cost of $4 Million gives him pause, saying, “We just got done talking about how we didn’t have any money.” Mr. Roth pointed out that the current library location is costing $1,850 per month. He said it would take a long time for that amount to equal $4 Million.

The plan that council is considering calls for Clinton to lease the property for use by the Library for a guaranteed five years. Mr. Roth pointed out that there’s no way a five-year lease would equate to $4 Million. He asked for clarification on several points. What would the lease payments be? To whom would those payments be made? What would be the total obligation for the city? “We don’t have an open wallet here” he said.

Council took no action on the project during the workshop last night.