Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton is losing patience with the discussion over how Chapel Hill is going to pay for its library.
The library is the most heavily used, per capita, in the state. But an expansion is on hold until Chapel Hill figures out how to pay additional operating costs that could raise taxpayers annual town tax bills $30 a year.
The problem? Forty percent of items circulated go outside Chapel Hill, but Orange County government contributes only 11 percent of operating costs. Chapel Hill has tried to get the county to pony up and even floated the idea of asking Carrboro for money.
Now Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, stuck on county negotiations, wants a meeting with Carrboro.
“I suppose we have to, although I do not look forward to it,” Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton replied in an e-mail.
Libraries are a county function and that’s where Chapel Hill needs to solve its problem, the mayor said.
“I am no way – no how – never going to vote to put Carrboro into the same dysfunctional relationsip with either the County or Chapel Hill that the two of them already have with each other,” he wrote.
In an interview, Chilton said Carrboro is a small town and can't afford to pay for using Chapel Hill's library. In his e-mail he says Chapel Hill and Orange County should open a branch downtown instead of expand, putting library services in walking distance of much of the population, including low-incom people of color who might have difficult getting to libraries farther out.