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Library discussion continues in Moniteau County

Library discussion continues in Moniteau County

September 20th, 2017 by David Wilson in Local News

Books sit on a shelf at the Moniteau County Library in California.

The library dispute in Moniteau County continued as Judge Donald Barnes convened a Monday hearing in the Moniteau County Courthouse.

This was a follow-up to the lengthy discussion held before Judge Barnes Sept. 13. These hearings followed several meetings, which were held by the different parties involved in the dispute.

Several parties expressed an opinion that a solution had been agreed on. However, once the parties and attorneys were before the judge, the details of the proposed settlement agreement were disputed by the different parties involved.

There was no solution immediately forthcoming at press time.

The problem dates back more than 20 years. In 1996, county commissioners created a public library district, which Judge Barnes said had to pass with a majority the votes in the county. After it passed, it was supposed to operate with two subdistricts, Eastern and Western. A property tax rate was set, which voters in each district had to adopt.

In February 2017, a decision made by Judge Barnes said, "The total number of votes in favor of passing the District in 1997, between both subdistricts, was not a majority of the individuals who voted. Therefore, the entire measure failed."

He found the district was not created legally. It was dissolved and a receiver was later appointed.

There is now no Moniteau County Library. The city of Tipton approved a municipal library tax in August to support the Price James Library. The Wood Place Library is operating in California on a limited basis, funded by the Elia Wood Paegelow Foundation.

A ballot measure, known as Proposition A, was approved by the County Commission to be placed before the voters in November. The new proposed county library would include all of Moniteau County, not within the existing municipal district of Tipton.

The case is ongoing.