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Commissioners defer vote on library task force funding

The Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners deferred a vote Tuesday night to give $75,000 to a library task force, saying more time was needed to learn where the money would be going.

At the commissioners meeting, county manager Harry Jones requested that the board approve the appropriation out of the county’s contingency fund.

The task force, formed this year, is made of community members who make recommendations to improve the library system.

Jones said a major cost for the task force is hiring firms to do research. The task force has already received $150,000 from the Foundations for the Carolinas’ Community Catalyst Fund. The task force is seeking other funding, but if it cannot find it, Jones requested that the board appropriate the funds.

Commissioners hesitated at the proposal.

“In the corporate world, if you say you’re going to bring in some consultants and they’re going to come up with some solutions and it’s going to cost me $150,000 … I have difficulty understanding why it takes $250,000 to come to a solution,” Commissioner George Dunlap said.

At-large Commissioner Dan Murrey spoke in support of the appropriation, saying he saw it as “seed money” for future savings.

“In my mind, this is part of a long-term solution to try to find something that will be sustainable but also re-thinks how we provide those services so we can do it in a more economical way,” he said.

Commissioner Harold Cogdell suggested that the vote be deferred until the next meeting so the commissioners could see a budget for the task force and get a better idea of where the funds would be going. Cogdell’s motion passed unanimously.

Caitlin Coakley can be reached at caitlin.coakley@mecktimes.com.

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