DONNELLY PUBLIC LIBRARY DISTRICT BOARD OF TRUSTEES
SPECIAL BOARD MEETING
Thursday, October 8th, 2020 6:30 p.m.
Donnelly Public Library, 150 E. State St., Donnelly, ID
Call to Order by Chair, Laura Bettis at 6:30 P.M.
Board Members present: Laura Bettis, Lisa Andresen, Susan Dorris and Mary Stegner
Others present: Sherry Scheline (Library Director/Board Secretary) Amy Stavynskyy (Vice President for Friends of The Donnelly Library)
Pledge of Allegiance
Approved Agenda with no changes.
On September 28, Board Chair Laura Bettis realized that the Board’s action in Executive Session on September 21st was possibly in violation of the Idaho Open Meeting Laws. The Executive Session was properly held, but should have been limited to deliberations, not action.
Because notice of the violation was ten days ago, the Board is within the 14 day period to cure the violation. In order to cure the violation, the Board will now make the entire notes of the executive session public, will deliberate the purchase of the lot east of the library again, and will hold a vote authorizing (or not) the purchase of the lot. The item “Approval of Lot Acquisition” was properly noticed for this meeting. The Board is free based on any input from the public or its open deliberations to approve the purchase or not.
Chair Laura Bettis read aloud the Notes from 8/21 Executive Session:
At the September 21 Special Meeting of the Board, Lisa Andresen, Trustee of DPLD, moved that the Board, pursuant to Idaho Code 74-206, convene in Executive Session to deliberate regarding an acquisition of an interest in real property which is not owned by a public agency (Idaho Code 74-206(1)(c)). She further moved to allow Sherry Scheline (Board Secretary and Library Director) and Amanda Vrany (Friends President) to be present in the executive session.
In a roll call vote, Laura Bettis, Mary Stegner, Lisa Andresen and Jean Keese all voted yes to convene the Executive Session. Jean Keese, Clerk of the Board, signed to certify the vote.
The Executive Session was convened at 7:12 p.m. and adjourned at 7:50 p.m.
The Board Chair, Laura Bettis, related to the Board that the neighboring property owner to the East had reached out and expressed interest in selling that lot to the library. She stipulated that she would net $75,000 from the sale.
Laura Bettis described the relevant laws governing such a purchase: Idaho Code 33-2720 authorizes the Board to purchase property; under Idaho Code 33-2724 tax monies can be used to improve facilities, but not to purchase land or buildings; Idaho Code 33-2718 authorizes the library to go for a bond to purchase land/facilities; and, there is no prohibition in Idaho Code for library to purchase land/facilities using private donations and/or grants. Under Idaho Code 33-2725, the budget would have to be reopened and adjusted by holding another public budget hearing.
Lenny Nelson, a library patron and supporter, has agreed to handle the transaction pro bono. Lenny Nelson is a commercial real estate agent.
Laura Bettis shared email exchanges between 321 Hafferty LLC and chair, Valley County Assessor Documents, and a recent appraisal of a nearby lot from the City of Donnelly.
The Board discussed the pros and cons of acquiring the land. The only immediate additional carrying costs of having the land would be maintenance/landscaping and potentially increased insurance cost. The library is exempt from paying property taxes. The consensus was that not purchasing the property could be detrimental to the library as we could wind up with an undesirable neighbor in terms of design/placement of a building. We are in need of additional space for future expansion, and currently for parking. Known concerns with the land that were discussed were drainage issues on the backside, a neighbor driving across the back part of the lot, a sewer line going from the corner house across the lot to the library, no fencing and close by dangers (an open well for one). Buying this property would delay or make the current expansion plans obsolete, so we would need to start over on that part of the Strategic Plan. That Plan did recognize the need to acquire larger property so this purchase would comport with it. Lisa Andresen noted that the price per square foot for the lot fit right in with the comparables in the recent appraisal for the City.
The Board Members physically inspected the property. It is flat, weed covered, not fenced, has an old short power pole and the city put in a drain on the west side. It is large and would make a great outdoor space. Merging it with our existing lot would provide us with a much bigger footprint for an expansion. It is currently zoned residential so the library might have to go to P&Z to get that changed. The consensus is that even with residential zoning, it would be worthwhile to hold the property and use it for the space.
There was a discussion about changing the purpose of the donated funds from a building expansion to the purchase of the neighboring lot. The consensus was that it was still expanding the library. The largest grant(s) was from the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation, so Sherry will send an update about the changed direction to them.
Discussion occurred regarding zoning and Jean agreed to make the needed inquiries to assure the correct process was followed for zoning considerations.
There was a discussion about how much to adjust the budget. Previously $30,000 was approved to start the expansion project this year. Now, at a minimum $80,000 will be needed. The consensus was that authorizing the entire building fund would prevent the need to reopen the budget and would give the library the most flexibility. No motion was made. This will be taken into consideration at the public budget hearing.
Mary Stegner moved that the Board:
- Make an offer to purchase the lot east of the library from 321 Halferty LLC contingent upon approval at a public budget hearing that would provide the seller with $75,000 net;
- To retain Lenny Nelson to handle the transaction pro bono; and
- To authorize Lisa Andresen (the chair of the Building Committee) to work with Lenny and be the Library’s signatory on an offer not to exceed $80,000.
Jean Keese seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.
At 7:50 the Executive Session was adjourned and the Board returned to the Special Meeting in progress.
Chair continued, since 9/21/2020, we have learned that there is an encroachment issue on the north side of the lot. The lot goes about 12 feet past the existing neighbor fence.
Sherry Scheline corresponded with Janelle Wise at the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation and she authorized the library to spend the previously awarded funds that were for an expansion project to be used for land acquisition.
At the budget hearing just held, the Board authorized the spending of the assets in the building fund within this fiscal year. We do not have a final title commitment, and we do not have a final estimate of the closing costs, etc.
Both the Trustees and the Director agreed that acquiring the lot was in the Library’s best interest. The one member of the public (and Friends VP) Amy Stavynskyy also recommended that the Library purchase the lot.
Susan Dorris, Trustee moved that:
- The Board approve the purchase of the lot at TBD E. State St., directly east of the library from 321 Halferty LLC, contingent on the outcome of title, for a purchase price that will provide the seller with a net of $75,000 so long as the full purchase price does not exceed $80,000.
- Approve Lisa Andresen (the Building Committee chair) to act as signatory for any and all paperwork required to effectuate the purchase and approve Laura Bettis (Board Chair) and/or Lisa Andresen to communicate with realtor, title company, and others as is necessary to complete the purchase.
- Authorize Lenny Nelson to handle the transaction as a non-agent on a pro-bono basis and to use First American Title for title and closing functions.
Seconded by Mary Stegner. The Motion carried (unanimous).
The Board discussed options of amending the current Strategic Plan and working on a new revised Strategic Plan were discussed. It was noted that the Plan in place is a living document and can be revised. It was also noted that the purchase of the lot is a substantial change since the Plan was put in effect. Board Chair stated Jean Keese had agreed to volunteer the Strategic Planning Committee. Chair recommended that each 6 months, the Board review progress made regarding the Strategic Plan goals.
Motion was made to establish a Strategic Plan committee lead by Jean Keese to create a new strategic plan. Susan moved / Mary second, motion carried (unanimous).
Library Staff & Board of Trustees Structure
Chair delegated leading this portion of the meeting over to Lisa Andresen
The roles and responsibilities of the Staff and Trustees were discussed. Prior to the Covid pandemic, meetings had been scheduled for every other month. It was stated that attendance by the DIrector and the Trustees is vital. It was agreed that going back to monthly meetings would be in the library’s best interest. It was generally agreed that the library district as a new entity is evolving and regular review of policies and job descriptions (annually) would allow the Board and Staff roles to be better defined. The current annual policy review has been delayed due to the lack of committee meetings during the pandemic. It was discussed that the Board and Staff need to define priorities for programming.
Lisa Andresent moved that the Board go into Executive Session pursuant to Idaho Code Sections 74-206(a) and 74-206(b) which allow for discussion of personnel matters in closed executive session. The purpose was to discuss confidential personnel matters. All Trustees and the Library Director would be included in the discussion.
Laura Bettis YES
Susan Dorris YES
Mary Stegner YES
Lisa Andresen YES
7:32 P.M. Went into Executive Session
8:24 p.m. Adjourned Executive Session
Susan Dorris moved, may it so be enacted to effectuate the directives of the Executive Session which relate to confidential personnel matters. Lisa Andresen 2nd, motion carried (unanimous).
Special Meeting continued in Open Session.
Review roles & responsibilities of Board positions – the Board discussed the importance of attendance at meetings, and setting policy while letting the Staff do the daily administration. The Board agreed that the delayed policy review needs to continue and that it would be a good practice to review one or two policies at every meeting and have the staff acknowledge the policies and changes thereto. The following policies should be addressed at the next Board Meeting: copyright policy, political activity policy, and policy revisions.
There were no questions or comments from the public
The Special Meeting was adjourned at 8:45 p.m.