A $2.4 million Perry library renovation and expansion tops this year’s wish list of the Georgia Public Library Service, the state agency that, among other things, administers state construction grants to library systems. Local funds of $800,000 already are in place, and GPLS is seeking state funding for the rest.
There are 10 projects statewide on the list. They total $29 million in state dollars to match $16 million in funds budgeted by localities.
None of the projects is in Gov. Nathan Deal’s draft budget for the fiscal year ending in June 2013. The state House and Senate have yet to publish their drafts.
“We certainly hope that both sides of the Georgia General Assembly will look very closely at supporting those,” State Librarian Lamar Veatch told a meeting of the state Senate Higher Education Committee this week.
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GPLS services include broadband administration, librarian training, public database subscriptions and the PINES interlibrary circulation system. Veatch said metro Atlanta libraries run on about 3 percent state funding. Some rural libraries use the state for as much as 74 percent of funding.
State stuck with vacant Baldwin County houses
There’s no price tag on the roughly 160 vacant houses that Georgia owns and wants to sell near the old state prisons in Milledgeville, but they need to be sold together, like one big subdivision.
The decades-old properties are a legacy of the time when the state provided housing for prison staff.
Georgia is working toward making that one large conveyance, according to the State Properties Commission, in testimony before the state House State Institutions and Properties Committee.
That’s because surveying, appraising and other costs make it pricier to sell them one by one.
But if no one is found who would buy so many houses at once, the commission will have to weigh the cost of individual sales versus the money they could collect in sales.
State Rep. Rusty Kidd, I-Milledgeville, told the committee he would like to see the houses sold and on the county property tax rolls before they fall into ruin.
-- Compiled by Maggie Lee