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Published February 07, 2011, 07:15 PM

GF City Council Approves Public Vote On Library Sales Tax

The Grand Forks City Council has agreed to move forward with the proposed new library, after voting to approve a public sales tax vote on the project. By approving the vote, the council accepts the recommendations of the library board to build a new library on its current site.

The Grand Forks City Council has agreed to move forward with the proposed new library, after voting to approve a public vote on a one-cent sales tax over 36 months. If approved that sales tax would raise $20.8 million for the project. By approving the vote, the council accepts the recommendations of the library board to build a new library on its current site.

The vote comes one week after the Public Library Board recommended the current site, based on feasibility and traffic studies.

After a heated discussion about both the library location and sales tax issue, two city council members are still against moving forward.

"We could open it up to the public, give them some time to suggest additional site, narrow it down to three as they did before," Council member Tyrone Grandstrand said.

Grandstrand says the recommendation for the current site does not meet the public's demands for a visible and centrally-located library. Grandstrand motioned to allow more community feedback, but no one seconded the motion.

Another city council member suggested the current site will meet public demand as Grand Forks continues to grow and develop.

"I expect the site for the library will be in the middle of town. It really is very well-located," Council member Eliot Glassheim said.

Library Board President Susan Mickelson says now that the board has recommended a site they want to start educating the public about the special election for the sales tax.

"Having working on this so closely for so long, yeah, it's exciting, but also disconcerting. I know we have a lot of work to do," Mickelson said.

If voted for in the special election in May, the sales tax would begin in October and carry through September 2014, unless the $20.8 million is collected before that time frame ends.

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