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pemberton referendum

Pemberton library, rec centre win big in referendum By Chris Woodall The turnout wasn't big but it was decisive: both the Pemberton Public Library and the community recreation centre won public approval in a referendum, Saturday, Oct. 18, on hiking local taxes to give them additional funding. The library received 323 yes votes and 62 no votes. Taxpayers will pay an additional 25 cents per $1,000 of net value of assessed land and improvements on their property tax bill. The community centre received 332 yes votes and 53 no votes. Taxpayers will pay an additional 30 cents per $1,000 of net value of assessed land and improvements on their property tax bill. Out of the money that might be generated, the library is guaranteed to get at least $59,000 and the community centre $75,000. The tax increase starts with the next fiscal year, beginning Jan. 1. Taxpayers will see what they owe when their property tax notices are sent out in early June. The new money won't allow the library or community centre to go crazy, but assures them they can continue to function. "It doesn't free us up to do much more. At least now we can continue to offer our programs," says Margaret Johnson, facility manager at the centre. One of those programs will be to set up a weights room, including stationary bicycles, rowing machines, and universal gyms. A new recreation co-ordinator, Danielle MacEachern, will come on stream in November. The margin of victory makes community centre chairman Allen McEwan feel good about the level of support in the community. "I'm pleasantly surprised at the per cent who voted in favour," McEwan says. "I feel much more comfortable with a large percentage like that" than he would have with a result that was closer to a 50-50 split. The library won't see its increase in funding until August so it will have to operate on its annual allotment of $29,000 until then. There are several projects the library wants to tackle. It would like to finally automate its filing system, but the $30,000 price tag to do this keeps it out of reach. "With adequate funding for daily operations, this is what we should be fund-raising for," says Julie Kelly, library board chair. "Only the librarian's knowledge of where information is, gets us by." More open hours is another priority, as is sufficient money to cover paid staff time. The additional funds will add six hours a week. New money will go to improving the library's collections. There is a desire to increase the library's size, too, but that is recognized as something for the future.

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