By Sarah Naron
GRAPELAND – A contract which would provide $45,000 in funding to the Grapeland Public Library was discussed by the Grapeland City Council during a regularly scheduled meeting held Tuesday, April 17.
As Mayor Balis E. Dailey explained, the funding provided through the contract would be prorated over a period of five years.
Councilman George Pierson, former mayor, reminded the council of a previous attempt made at coming to an agreement with the library.
“I offered a win-win situation, and they turned it down – said that we were in their business,” he pointed out. “I felt like we handled this thing for them when we made this win-win situation for both of us, and then, they wanted to go back on a personal basis.
“Here’s what I’m concerned about,” Pierson continued. “You asked the mayor and city council for some help. We gave you some help. You didn’t want the help, because you felt like the city was getting into your business.”
Pierson also expressed the belief that financial reports should be provided to the city council by the library.
“I feel like if you want to ask us for this much money, we ought to see some kind of financial status – some kind of budget you have,” he said. “I was told that the library had money in escrow and the library also had fundraisers that they were getting money for. Why come to me and ask me for some money if you’ve got enough money to handle this deal yourself?
“Let me know how poor you are, and I might be a little bit more lenient,” Pierson said.
Through previous fundraising efforts, the council raised an approximate amount of $1,800 in a matter of “a couple of weeks” to benefit the library.
“The library is good for our community,” Dailey stated. “I appreciate them bringing this (contract) forward.”
Dailey went on to insinuate, however, that providing the funding may not be feasible with the city’s current finances.
“I’ve told them repeatedly – as you’ve heard me say – this is a bad year,” he said. “And we knew it was going to be a bad year. We kicked the can down the road. We’ve been kicking it down the road, but we’ve probably come to the end of the road.”
A motion was made by Councilman Will Watson to table the item until the city begins preparing its budget.
“I’m going to try to get with Mr. Harry Wayne (Pridgen) and just kind of talk with him on behalf of the council just about maybe some things like last year that we discussed to try out,” Watson explained. “I think there’s a lot of communication that’s not happening between the library and the council to a certain degree, and I want to try to bridge that.”
The motion was seconded and unanimously carried by the members of the council.