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Valley Focus | Calabasas

City Takeover Won't Change Library Site

April 15, 1998|ALLISON COHEN

The location of the local library will not change this summer when the city takes over the operation from the county.

Even though the county has been overseeing the facility, the city has been responsible for renting the storefront where the library has been located since January 1996.

But the county owns the collection--17,000 books and recordings--which it offered to sell to the city. But at tonight's City Council meeting, a task force made up of local officials will recommend that the city start from scratch and build its own collection.

The cost of a new collection--estimated at between $200,000 and $225,000--is less than what the county wanted the city to pay, said City Manager Charles Cate.

Neither Cate nor other city officials would say what the county's price was.

Additionally, the task force states in a report that it will recommend the council hire a private library managerial company to operate the facility.

City officials decided last year to take over the library operation because they believed they were not getting the services they paid for.

According to the task force report, the city had contributed more than $500,000 annually from property taxes to the county library system, but only received about $248,000 a year in services.

A Los Angeles County library official said the discrepancy was not quite so large. County spokeswoman Nancy Mahr said Tuesday that Calabasas had received approximately $330,000 in services.

She explained that because the population--and therefore the tax base--of Calabasas had grown so rapidly, the county could not keep pace with the added revenue received.

"For the library community, the basic goal is to serve the people," Mahr said. "This change will be good for the Calabasas community."

The city takeover will occur July 1. A grand reopening is scheduled for Aug. 1, following a one-month shutdown.

The City Council meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall, 26135 Mureau Road.

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