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Library repairs have Portage County and Stevens Point leaders negotiating


STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) -- The Portage County Library’s primary location in downtown Stevens Point needs over half a million dollars in repairs. The question is, who is paying?

The building on Stevens Point’s Main Street is owned by the city, and operated by Portage County. County Executive Patty Dreier says it’s an arrangement that has been in place for a long time...NWS 9497 :12 sec. “...our forefathers.”

“It’s the same for the ADRC (Aging and Disability Resource Center) and the library, where the city owns the property, and then we operate what goes inside of it in a partnership. Now, these are both wonderful partnerships developed decades ago by our forefathers.”

The current arrangement has the city paying for building maintenance over $2,000 and all heating and air conditioning repair costs. City officials would like to have the county take over the building, and would contribute $100,000 towards repairs if Portage County takes the title. Mayor Andrew Halverson doesn’t believe the city taxpayers should be paying twice to operate the library. Dreier says the county has offered to raise the threshold and pay for maintenance under $5,000 plus 25% of any heating or air conditioning repairs.

The Portage County Library could potentially move if the two units of government can’t come to an agreement. The lease has expired, and the building needs expensive boiler replacement and roof repairs.

The Mayor and the County Executive are continuing to discuss possible solutions.