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Mayor Seeks New Builder Fees for Library Materials

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Pushing to ensure that the library needs of future residents are met, Mayor Patrick Hunter has proposed charging developers hundreds of dollars for each house they build.

With estimates that Moorpark’s population will jump 50% to 42,000 by 2010, Hunter wants to levy fees of up to $460 per dwelling to guarantee that the city’s sole library has sufficient materials to accommodate the growth.

“The libraries also represent a city’s infrastructure, and I believe new development should pay for the impact of their developments just as they do for sewers and streets,” said Hunter, who first brought up the proposal during his State of the City speech in July.

The proposal, which he formally introduced Wednesday, calls for collecting library fees from developers prior to issuing construction permits. The money would be used to pay for new materials such as books, periodicals, computers and software.

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City staff has recommended that developers pay $460 for every single-family dwelling, $298 for duplexes, condominiums and each apartment unit, and $306 for every mobile-home park space.

The staff estimates that the developer fees could help Moorpark generate $2.8 million by the time it has 42,000 residents, which, according to the city’s General Plan, is expected by 2010.

If approved, the ordinance would restrict the use of the funds. The money could only be applied to library materials and not for library construction or employee salaries.

The Moorpark city library--which has 34,628 volumes, including books, videos and recordings--owns one computer that patrons can use. But Laurie Dunning, the city’s head librarian, said that a city of Moorpark’s size should have approximately 84,000 volumes and at least 14 computers accessible to the public.

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Last fiscal year, the city budgeted $873 for new library materials. But without donations from the community, the library wouldn’t have been able to renew its magazine subscriptions, which cost $1,700 last year.

“The entire [library materials] budget doesn’t even replace books that are broken, let alone pay for anything more,” said David Sakata, co-president of Moorpark’s Friends of the Library.


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