By Wesley Edwards

Wednesday evening the architectural firm of Waller, Todd, and Sadler gave all in attendance to the supervisors meeting a general update and a chart of events to occur for the new library proposed in Parksley.

He explained that the new building would be 19,614 square feet once the 6,984 square foot addition is complete. Supervisors questioned the $256 per square foot cost for the new addition. Supervisor Muhly stated that the new public service building at sawmill Park was built for $163 per square foot.

Mr. Frank Hall, the treasurer of the Library Foundation, showed a powerpoint presentation with a chart of the funds to be pooled to build the library which displayed $2 million pledge from Accomack County, $500,000 from the state, the capital campaign at $581,000, outstanding pledges of $159,000 and a $1.7 million pending loan making up the $5 million balance. The powerpoint also said the building was worth $575,000. Chairman Robert Crockett told Mr. Hall he had spoken to several real estate people and they felt the value of the building was closer to $175,000. Crockett then told Hall and the room full of library interested parties that in the original pledge there was no intent to borrow $2 million and, considering the fact that the voters had said no in a November 2014 referendum, the understanding was that the trustees would raise $3 million without borrowing any money. Crockett then expressed his concern that should the foundation or library default on the loan, the County would then have to pay out an additional $2 million which they were not prepared to do. Therefore he was making a motion that stated the County would only fund the $2 million pledge if both the County, the library, and library foundation was held harmless by the lending institution. Based on the length and wording of the motion it was very clear that the County attorney had either drafted this motion or had participated in its drafting. County attorney Celia Burge then told everyone in the room that it was her job to protect the County. She explained that the next step was for the library board or foundation to bring a letter from the lending institution that stated all 3 entities would be held harmless, meaning not liable.

Supervisor Chesser then stated that he did not believe that under those conditions that the library foundation would be able to raise the $1.7 million but the County had to protect itself and the tax payers. The lengthy legalese motion passed unanimously. Supervisor Paul Muhly then made a motion that the Board of Supervisors would fund the $2 million pledge when the conditions as outlined tonight were met. That motion also passed unanimously. During the supervisor comment period supervisor Billy Joe Tarr told supervisors that it concerned him that the board was considering funding the $2 million pledge when the voters said no. He explained that he was not a sitting supervisor when the original pledge and discussions took place, but he felt everyone should know that Chincoteague has a nice library that was funded without any County support.