East Lake Library to Split From Palm Harbor Jurisdiction
East Lake residents were so happy to hear the news, they gave Pinellas County Commissioner Susan Latvala a round of applause after she made the announcement.
If all goes as planned, the East Lake Library will soon be governing itself and East Lake residents will see more of their tax dollars used in their own community.
During a town hall meeting Nov. 12 in East Lake, Pinellas County Commissioner Susan Latvala announced that commissioners had decided that the East Lake Library will become its own district.
Residents in the audience were so happy to hear the news, they gave Latvala a round of applause.
The East Lake Library is currently under the jurisdiction of the Palm Harbor Community Services Agency, an organization that also oversees the Palm Harbor Library and the Palm Harbor Parks and Recreation Department. The decision made by Pinellas County Commissioners will allow the library to govern itself.
"You all know that you are a very special exception and you're a unit of the Palm Harbor Library. The county commission has said that you will become an independent district like Palm Harbor," said Latvala.
East Lake Community Library Director Patricia Perez says the library is ready for the change.
"The independence of the East Lake Community Library has been the direction and plan since the library's inception. Through the years East Lake Community Library has grown into a fully functional professional library. We are ready to stand on our own to serve our residents in the East Lake area of Pinellas County," she said.
The issue came up for discussion because the ten-year contract for the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative is up for renewal. The co-op was created to pay for services that county residents receive from city libraries. East Lake residents pay the co-op tax because they live in unincorporated Pinellas County.
This tax and the co-op contract will most likely be at the forefront of discussion for leaders of the soon-to-be independent East Lake Library.
Roger Johnson, who is on the East Lake Library's Advisory Board, is excited about the future.
"Wow, finally, fairness for East Lake residents to get their library tax money back to East Lake Library and not to the cities' libraries," he said.
Latvala says Pinellas County Commissioners will soon hold a workshop about the East Lake Library. As soon as the date and time are announced, Patch will pass that information along to you.
The East Lake Library is located at 4125 East Lake Rd.; (727) 773-2665