NORTH REDINGTON BEACH — The town council has approved the new interlocal agreement for the continued funding of the Gulf Beaches Public Library, making it the third of five beach towns involved in the library cooperative to get on board.
The vote was 4-1 with Commissioner Richard Bennett, the town’s representative on the library board, voting against.
Redington Shores and Madeira Beach have already passed the agreement, with an anticipated approval by Redington Beach at its upcoming meeting. Now that North Redington Beach is on board, only Treasure Island remains as the last of the five municipalities uncommitted.
With essentially one 2-paragraph exception, the new interlocal agreement is the same as all the prior library agreements. The point of contention is a section that makes changes to the corporate structure of the library and recommends certain upgrades.
The library board is being reduced to five voting members, one elected official from each of the municipalities, with one alternate per town in the event the voting member is absent. The board also has two non-voting members consisting of the library director and one member of the Friends of the Gulf Beaches Public Library.
The second paragraph recommended by the municipalities includes keeping the current building footprint while utilizing substantial reserves to upgrade technology and modernize the interior of the library building, and for the library to adopt a policy of not exceeding $100,000 in reserves.
“These changes are to save the library and get it back on its feet,” said Mayor Bill Queen.
Bennett argued that there had not been enough time to review the changes. “I think this is going too fast,” said Bennett, who asked that the agreement be tabled until the fall.
“We’ve discussed this at the last four meetings; there is nothing new to discuss here,” said the mayor.
Once all five municipalities sign the agreement, changes go into effect Oct. 1.
In other business, the town objected to a Pinellas County proposal to increase local fuel taxes by 5 cents a gallon. The county sought input from municipalities; the town voted 5-0 against.