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City uses reserves to fund $2.5 million library entrance

A conceptual drawing of the new entrance to the Prince George Public Library. Work on the final design is expected to begin later this year.

BY BILL PHILLIPS

bill@pgdailynews.ca

City council has decided to use reserves to fund a new entrance to the Bob Harkins Branch of the Prince George Public Library.

The decision goes against the staff recommendation to fund the $2.5 million cost through long-term financing and, instead, fund the project using the city’s endowment reserve, which is traditionally used by the city to manage its cash flow and helps prevent the city from borrowing money prior to taxes being collected in June and July.

“It’s got lower debt servicing costs, it seems to have a shorter term and provides the greater amount of flexibility and could be implemented immediately,” said Coun. Terri McConnachie regarding using the reserve.

City manager Kathlen Soltis said there aren’t too many downsides for using the reserve, which currently has about $25 million, other than it does deplete the reserve. Although, she said the reserve is healthy right now.

“A project of this size wouldn’t be detrimental to the balance in that reserve,” Soltis said.

Council unanimously approved moving forward using city reserves.

Mayor Lyn Hall says the project has been a long time coming and will finish an area that has, for a long time, been less than complete.

“Once the hotel is completed, we’re going to see the completion of Canada Games Plaza,” said Hall. “It’s going to be a very, very nice location.”

Library facts

Did you know that the Library is one of the most frequently visited public buildings in our city?

In 2016, there were 279,202 visits to the Bob Harkins Branch. That’s 843 visits per day – the branch was open 332 days in 2016.

That same year:

  • Circulation (items borrowed) increased by 6% from 770,890 to 821,410.
  • Children and teens borrowed 617 books a day from our branches.
  • Participation in free library programs increased by approximately 27%.

The Library has more than 51,000 active library cardholders in Prince George and the Regional District, 500 of which are new cardholders added last month alone. That’s a 68% increase over January of 2016.

Visit the Library today or visit it online at http://www.pgpl.ca/

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