Candidates split this week on how to pay for the Chapel Hill Public Library. The library costs $2.5 million a year to operate, rising to $4 million when the expansion is built. Yet, 40 percent of users live outside town, and Orange County's contribution remains just $250,00 a year.
Mark Kleinschmidt said he will draw relationships built over eight years on the Town Council to get more money from the county. He called charging out-of-county users "an unworkable idea. ... I'm not going to support charging a Carrboro student coming to the Chapel Hill library to check out books."
Matt Czajkowski said Mayor Kevin Foy has relationships too and they have not helped the library's bottom line. [Foy has suggested charging out of town users for a library card.] "What's not discussed is the town of Carrboro," Czajkowski said. "It is flat out unfair for residents of Chapel Hill to be effectively paying for them to use our library."
Augustus Cho said he would support a minimal fee for people living outside Chapel Hill.
Kevin Wolff did not comment on fees for out-of-town users. He said the town needs to be as proud of its library as its fare-free bus service and that the council needs to prioritize its spending. "It's our public library; we need to pay for it," he said.