Library plot purchase rankles Holton

Steve Smith
Posted 6/2/21

Fort Lupton City Council approved the purchase of two acres of land for a new Fort Lupton Public & School Library June 1. The vote was 5-0. Councilman Tommy Holton abstained.He and City Attorney …

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Library plot purchase rankles Holton

Posted

Fort Lupton City Council approved the purchase of two acres of land for a new Fort Lupton Public & School Library June 1. The vote was 5-0. Councilman Tommy Holton abstained.
He and City Attorney Andy Ausmus renewed their disagreement over the status of the library board and the land's purchase. Holton thought the board should sign off on the agreement.
"They operated as its own entity from 1985 to 2014," Holton said. "They were a signatory at one time. That's why they moved it over to us."
Ausmus disagreed.
"The IRS doesn't recognize them as an entity," Ausmus said. "Contractually, it's impossible to do what you are suggesting. They are not a corporate entity. The board is not a fiscal agent."
"The way we get money is through grants," said outgoing library Director Sarah Frank.
"I don't agree with the way the library is being run," Holton said. "Somebody changed the way they operate. They were a signatory on all of these contracts. They aren't on this one."
"You signed the IGA to give it back to the district," Ausmus said. "I drew it up exactly the way you asked me to. "

In an email, Holton explained his abstention.

"There is a big back story to this issue. But in the interim, I did not want to interfere with my wife on the two boards," he said. "The city attorney and I went thru a two-year battle to get it where it is today. After battle, sometimes the passions run high."
The purchase price is around $850,000, according to outgoing library Director Sarah Franks. The land is near the new location of Dale's Pharmacy on state Highway 52 east of Weld County Road 27. Ausmus said the wording of the agreement allows the Weld Re-8 School District to add its signature later on. As it stands, both the city and the district are members of the High Plains Library District.
"We've kept them informed every step of the way," Ausmus said. "It's more of timing for their meeting. If we didn't do it this way, we would lose out on the property."
Re-8's concern was what happens to the existing 11,000 square feet of space in the library's present home at Fort Lupton High School. Superintendent Alan Kaylor said in April he didn't want to see that space turn into a cave.

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