Yes on Measure B will provide locally-controlled bond funds to build a functional, modern 21st century library that is up to earthquake and fire codes, with a computer learning center, more space for children’s story times, space for after-school programs for youth and teens, increased senior and disabled access, group study/community meeting areas and more public access computers.
The measure includes fiscal accountability provisions such as mandatory audits and annual review by the Financial Advisory Board to ensure that funds are spent as promised. Moreover, El Cerrito residents will have the opportunity for public review and comment regarding operations and building design once the bond is approved and the detailed design planning phase begins.
Built in 1948, the current El Cerrito Library does not meet earthquake safety standards or the educational and technology needs of today’s El Cerrito residents. The $30 million bond measure is not a blank check, but would be used to acquire land, design and permit and construct a safe, modern building in line with the 2014 Library Space Needs Assessment that was developed based on best practices for modern libraries, as well as community feedback and input from library staff. Only those funds necessary will actually be borrowed and, as discussed at City Council, options were well below $30 million. Those who say the library could be built at a much lower cost are not using an apples to apples comparison for the full cost to build a new library given recent inflation and often fail to include the cost of land, site grading and utility connection, seismic protections and other, necessary costs. In order to prepare the cost estimates, the City has engaged well respected library architects and construction management firms who project these expenses to be well within the norm for new libraries. Finally, there is not enough space to accommodate a larger library facility at the current site next to Fairmont Elementary School. Therefore, the City and its professional consultants developed a selection criteria based on the Needs Assessment and other data to evaluate other potential sites. The site selection process is still underway as the City is evaluating multiple options in order to develop the most cost-effective building and operational program for the new library.
Yes on B requires a 2/3rds vote. We urge each and every one of you to find Measure B on the ballot and vote “yes” because a safe, modern library will provide a much-needed, learning environment for us and for future generations.
Yes on Measure B Committee
For more information about Measure B, see http://www.el-cerrito.org/