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MISSION VIEJO : Survey on Library Issue OKd by City

April 14, 1993|FRANK MESSINA

A survey asking residents if they want to spend about $5 million of the city's reserve funds to pay for a new library was authorized this week by the City Council.

Council members hope the citywide poll will answer several other critical questions relating to the library project, including whether residents want the library at all.

City residents were asked last November to vote on a $5-million library bond measure. Though the measure received 56% of the vote, it needed two-thirds to pass.

How to finance the new library was debated in a sometimes heated confrontation between library supporters and council members at this week's council meeting.

Members of the library committee wanted the council to spend $491,000, most of it to pay for architectural drawings needed to apply for state and federal grants.

"If we sit and do nothing, we'll be where we were six years ago," said committee chairwoman Sherrie Butterfield, who also chairs the Planning Commission. "We'll have no (new) library and still be needing one."

Officials in charge of grant programs "want to see more than my dreams," she said. "They want to see plans."

Mission Viejo and parts of Laguna Hills use a 9,000-square-foot library that supporters say is grossly inadequate to serve 80,000 residents living in the area. Plans for a new library call for a 25,000-square-foot building.

But with the state in a financial bind, few sources for funding library projects will be available in the future.

Councilwoman Sharon Cody said she wants to see how citizens feel about spending money on a new library before committing city funds.

"We can't afford a custom library loaded with bells and whistles," she said.

Mayor Robert D. Breton strongly pushed for spending money to pay a library architect, but was voted down by the other four council members.

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