History Index: Government
Library History - Part 3
thru Oct 21, 2014
- Part 1
- Part 2 Library
History - Part 4
Compiled and Edited by Michael R.
October 10, 2005, Last Revised
Public Library Services for the Lisbon -
2006 - Present
Sale of Haass land won’t be on agenda Some want to hold onto Lisbon parcel because its worth may grow
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI) - Thursday, March 16, 2006
Readability: >12 grade level (Lexile: 1320L)
Author: DAVE SHEELEY, Staff: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Lisbon — Supervisors won’t ask electors at the annual town meeting next month for permission to sell 65 acres of land which Pauline Haass
donated to the town, an official said Wednesday.
Town Clerk Jeff Musche said that supervisors believe they shouldn’t make the request so soon after a November meeting when electors voted down a proposal to sell the former farmland at the southwest corner of Lake Five and Hickory roads.
The vote was 27-25.
The land sale could mean additional revenue for the town to use for library purposes. Town officials had proposed investing proceeds from the sale of the land, which has a value in excess of $1 million.
Interest earned from that investment would be used to help pay for the Pauline Haass
Public Library’s cost, including debt from construction of the library on Main St. in Sussex. Lisbon and Sussex have an agreement to run the joint library district.
Land value to increase
Some town electors said it would be beneficial to hold on to the land because it will be worth more money in the future as land values in the town increase.
Although the land sale question won’t be on the agenda, residents at the April 11 meeting can call for an electorate vote to sell the land, Musche said.
Meanwhile, the Library Board has reviewed a new legal opinion on whether that board or the Town Board should control proceeds from the land bequest, according to Library Director Kathy Klager. Retired schoolteacher and Lisbon resident Haass
bequeathed cash and the property to the town to create a library for residents. She died in 1985.
Library officials approved spending up to $4,000 last year to obtain the opinion in attempt to resolve a longstanding dispute on whether the Library Board or Town Board should control the proceeds.
Klager said the Library Board last month reviewed an opinion, prepared by Timothy Feeley, in a session closed to the public. She declined to discuss the opinion, which has been kept confidential. She referred questions about it to Feeley, who didn’t return calls seeking comment.
It’s the third time an attorney has prepared an opinion on the dispute. Previous opinions, formed by attorneys on behalf of the town and library, differ in their conclusions. The one prepared for the town says the donation’s proceeds should be controlled by the Town Board, while the one for the library says they should be controlled by the Library Board.
Klager said the Library Board currently doesn’t have a position on which entity should control the donation proceeds, but Musche said that for years the town has said the town is in control of the donation.
"I think it’s safe to say that it’s the town’s position that the status quo shouldn’t change," he said.
Copyright 2006, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved.
WAUKESHA COUNTY BRIEFING
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI) - Friday, March 24, 2006
Sussex — Officials at the local public library are planning to tweak the makeup of the Library Board after discovering they were violating state standards.
Kathy Klager, director of the Pauline Haass Public Library, said board members representing Sussex and Lisbon have been wrongly serving one-year terms. The state requires three-year terms for all board members, Klager said, so officials are working to make the correction.
Village and Town Board members have been serving just one-year terms because voters elect those representatives every two years, so a three-year Library Board appointment did not seem to make sense, Klager said.
The remaining five Library Board members are citizens appointed to three-year terms as required.
The issue was detected in a routine state compliance check recently.
feared that her
farm would ‘get
swallowed up in
become the site
of a housing or
Before she died,
she took steps
to see that
Town won't have
control of land
Revision of will
was triggered by
Lisbon — Being a
city girl, Ruth
to the country
if her husband
bought out his
of his family’s
But after she
to the property
off Highway 164
in Lisbon, and
the many cats
there, she came
to enjoy the
"She said she
was really glad
he did that
because it was
Basting, said of
Ruth Lembke grew
into a caretaker
of the critters
on the more than
70 acres of farm
and strove to
make sure its
That’s why years
ago she willed
property to the
town for a park
But that plan
weeks before she
died March 3 at
the age of 95.
With a belief
that the town
the bequest of
, Lembke decided
the property to
instead left it
to Basting, who
pledges to keep
"In my prior
will I planned
to leave the
land to the Town
Lembke says in a
revision to her
30. "But I am
that if I did,
my wishes would
not have been
honored and that
my land will be
development or a
to protect her
land amid fears
that it would be
developed in the
hands of the
town is one
example of a
land issue in
have sprung up
on land once
president of the
areas such as
the Ruth Lembke
become even more
Stopping it from
she said, is key
, a retired
who died in
cash and 65
acres of former
farmland at Lake
Five and Hickory
roads to the
town to create a
The town struck
with Sussex to
launch a joint
built a library
on Main St. in
Sussex in the
Ruth Lembke, who
was a member of
the Friends of
town would sell
land and use
the sale for
contrary to the
That led Ruth
Lembke to worry
that the town
her wishes that
her property not
"She just didn’t
want to take the
chance that her
Ruth Lembke was
up in politics"
and become the
site of a
in the hands of
together got her
wouldn’t be a
Town planned a
sits on the east
side of the
Lembke land, and
of it off
planned for the
north side of
according to the
Musche said the
town would have
adhered to her
will if it had
control of the
land and would
had talked about
"We were going
to maintain it
as a park,"
In all the
had with town
did one person
intent not to
that Ruth Lembke
make any changes
to her will.
said, he was
town was not
handling of the
"Every nickel of
estate has gone
to fund the
In recent months
estate has been
at the center of
Late last year
Board voted to
obtain a new
legal opinion on
Library Board or
1997, and those
Both sides said
they believe the
money should be
spent on the
on which agency
— the town or
library — should
be in control of
‘Ahead of her
Lembke, who was
born May 13,
1910, was a
in Wauwatosa for
most of her
She and Emil
Lembke, who died
in 1984, lived
in Milwaukee but
the farm fields
and watched the
Ruth Lembke was
active in many
at a food pantry
in Sussex and
was a member of
She also was a
pilot in the
of Milwaukee, a
cousin of Ruth
she was an
flew a plane
when few women
"She was way
ahead of her
time. When she
wanted to do
went ahead and
did it," Collins
moved to the
Ruth Lembke grew
attached to the
food and drink
in pans outside
The cats were
the main focus
of the book she
She wrote: "Even
though we spent
dollars on cats
sixteen years we
have been part
minute and every
dollar has been
Lembke as a kind
person who gave
"She lived by
rule. She never
bad to anybody
and never did
anything bad to
"She did things
In her revised
also wants to
make sure her
shares my very
strong desire to
see my land
remain in as
much a natural
the portion of
is leased to a
farmer, who will
be able to farm
there as long as
he wants. The
entire parcel is
However, she has
yet to decide
what to do with
the land in
"I want to make
soccer fields on
the property or
turning it over
to a conservancy
"It does sound
like a property
that would be
adding that the
county lists a
portion of the
land as an
promises to do
as Lembke’s will
"She knows I’ll
do what she
said. "I want to
keep it natural,
too, like she
Inc. All rights
LAUREL WALKER IN MY OPINION - Couple stacks up among library backers
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI) - Sunday, March 30, 2008
Author: LAUREL WALKER, Staff: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
It takes stand-up people to move a community and its institutions forward.
People like Len and Jane Anhalt, longtime Lisbon residents whose example should encourage others to sit up, take notice and, perhaps, stand up, too.
For Len, 81, and Jane, 76, it’s payback time — in both money and fund-raising muscle — for the four decades they have enjoyed in the Lisbon-Sussex area.
The couple are cheerleaders for community giving of all kinds. But closest to their hearts is the cause of the local library, now within walking distance of the Sussex condo they moved into just last December.
I understand. Libraries inspire me, too, like the cheerful Pauline Haass
Public Library on Main St. in Sussex, dressed up inside with terrific student artwork when I met the Anhalts there recently.
Jane Anhalt said her love affair with libraries started early in her hometown of Menasha — "as soon as I was old enough to walk to the library by myself. I used to fantasize I would read every book in the library, and I used to think I could do it."
I told her there’s still time.
She brought her growing young children to the library — back then, it was to the Menomonee Falls Public Library before the joint Lisbon-Sussex one was built.
Now she brings her grandchildren, and loves to tell the story of one granddaughter who, each time when checking out her books, would pose a question to Ralph Illick, the reference librarian. Every time, Illick could almost immediately put his finger on the answer, prompting the child to exclaim, "Grandma knows a man at the library who knows everything!"
Len Anhalt’s library appreciation dates back to 1946, when the Sheboygan native was fresh out of World War II service, a "naïve kid" who landed in Milwaukee, hoping to go to school on the GI bill.
"I didn’t have a pot to pee in and spent a lot of time at the library," he said. "The Milwaukee Public Library was my favorite haunt," not because he was an exceptional student, he said, but "just because it was a good place to learn and a good friendly place to be. I read a lot of stuff there."
He went on to become an engineer, eventually starting his own business out of his basement — the only time, Jane interjects, that he was home for supper on time. He and two partners started an engineering firm, now Graef Anhalt Schloemer & Associates, in 1961, a firm that went on to provide engineering services to such major projects as the Calatrava addition at the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Midwest Express Center, and to major clients in local and county governments and big industries.
Today the firm has 350 employees and seven offices around the country. Anhalt retired in 1993.
It was just in time to give him a breather before putting his business and marketing skills behind the local library’s capital campaign.
Len Anhalt helped found the Pauline Haass
Public Library Foundation a dozen years ago, at a time when there was a $300,000 funding gap for equipping and furnishing the new library. Using his contacts, he was able to sit down with business executives like Harry Quadracci (Quad/Graphics) and stress the importance of a community library.
"I think it’s the center of knowledge, and it’s critical to the health and welfare of a community — not just education-wise, but economically and culturally," Len said.
Jane, who served a three-year term on the library board, sees it from another perspective.
"I think of what it does for families," she said. "It’s a wonderful place for kids to learn to love books."
After the library was opened, the foundation, with Len Anhalt as president, kept working.
Since then the foundation’s added $155,000 for technology and other needs beyond the reach of the tax-financed budget. Things like free Internet workshops for citizens, public computers, equipment for meeting rooms, even an automated external defibrillator.
Now Len Anhalt has stepped down as foundation president, succeeded by Marie DeVillers, but he’s still fund-raising.
The couple have designated a significant part of their estate toward the foundation, and in appreciation, the foundation is calling it The Anhalt Society.
Like the Pauline Haass
Public Library Foundation, The Anhalt Society is administered through the Waukesha County Community Foundation.
That’s a whole network of stand-up people who want to share their treasures with good causes across Waukesha County, in small amounts and large.
DeVillers said a library expansion campaign is probably in the foundation’s future, given the large population growth in the Sussex-Lisbon area.
She’s hoping The Anhalt Society — with a dedication ceremony in May to honor Len and Jane — will set the perfect example for other donors.
Len Anhalt said he and others with the foundation plan to contact individuals and businesses with the message that in a community that’s been good to them, citizens and businesses should stand up and give back.
Kathy Klager, the library director, said the Anhalts are "salt of the earth" people, quiet and unassuming who are not interested in a flashy lifestyle.
"What they believe in," she said, "is giving back to the community."
Call Laurel Walker at (262) 650-3183 or e-mail [email protected]
Copyright 2008, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved.
Officials say book arrest is no anomaly & Warrants issued for overdue library items
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI) - Monday, September 1, 2008
Pauline Haass Public Library in Sussex contracts Unique Management Services, a library materials recovery and collection agency, to retrieve materials that are more than two months overdue and to collect unpaid fees. The Waukesha Public Library staff also sends cases to a collection agency.
Libraries give patrons chances to return overdue items.
The Pauline Hass
meeting is set for 5
p.m. March 12. The
date was reported
incorrectly in the
Thursday, Feb. 25,
apologizes for the
Pauline Haass Library
needs more space
Thursday might discuss
Sussex - The
Pauline Haass Public
Library Board will
and strategies for
the next three years
– including the
space needs – at a
Thursday, March 12.
Kathy Klager said
board members and
staff will review
statistics and other
data relating to
library programs and
and strategies based
partly on that data.
Included in the
information will be
the results of
surveys of library
The meeting might
also discuss the
plans to expand its
increased 67 percent
during the past
decade; from about
checked out in 1997
to more than 316,800
building has about
22,000 square feet,
but its existing
could already use
according to a
commissioned by the
Another 26,000 to
32,000 square feet
will be needed to
as well as
in the population of
service area –
Village of Sussex
and the Town of
Lisbon, the two
own the library.
prefer to build an
addition to the
rather than build a
the library, these
issues are not
consultant Anders C.
Dalgren wrote in a
recent summary of
prepared for the
board. "It is
essential that the
these findings to
the village and town
so that all three
key players can
engage in thoughtful
dialog on the best
future direction for
the Pauline Haass
offers personalized bricks for $100
The Sussex-Lisbon Pauline Haass Public
Library is offering personalized bricks that
will be installed around the entrance sculpture
"A personalized brick makes a great
retirement or anniversary gift," library
director Kathy Klager noted in a press release.
"There's nothing for the recipient to sore or
Many buy bricks as memorials to family
members or friends, she added. Others have their
own names in inscribed on the briks to show
their support for the library. One of the
existing bricks is a marriage proposal; another
expresses a family's wish for world peace.
Besides the $75 each $100 brick raises for
the library, they also seem to serve another
need, Klager said: "I often see people looking
over the bricks and enjoying the sense of
community that seeing so many familiar names
brings to them.
Brick order forms are available at the
library and must be returned by Thursday, July
9. The bricks may be inscribed with up to three
lines of 12 letters each. For suggestions, call
the library, (262) 246-5180.
Sussex library offers new
way to learn foreign
language Grant pays for
laptops, software patrons
- Thursday, August
Those who turn to their
local public library for
help in learning a second
language — or at least
enough to help them when
they travel abroad — have
usually had to rely on
printed or audio books,
tapes and DVDs.
They’re the kind of staid
self-help tools that, when
there’s no live being
directly teaching you, don’t
necessarily breed success.
At the Pauline
Public Library in Sussex,
however, thanks to a $10,000
technology grant from the
library foundation, patrons
now have access to an
immersion software program
on laptops that might be the
next best thing to having a
tutor at their side.
Library Director Kathy
Klager said the reaction to
the new Rosetta Stone
language tool has been
since it was installed in
Patrons can check out
laptops loaded with the
software and, in the privacy
of library study rooms where
quiet is not a requirement,
use a microphone and mouse
clicks to advance through
practical lessons in French,
Spanish, German or Mandarin
Chinese. The laptops can’t
be removed from the library.
The lessons are entirely in
the language being studied
and rely on photographs,
repetition, verbal cues,
role-playing, review and a
approach. The user gets
feedback on accent,
pronunciation, as well as
vocabulary and grammar.
Klager thinks the program at
her small Waukesha County
library is unique. She’s
found only a couple of other
libraries that have loaded
the software on their
public-access computers, but
they disabled the voice
recognition portion because
of the noise.
But in the state’s largest
city, Milwaukee librarian
coordinator of humanities
and archives, said the
system has nothing similar
to what the Pauline
Companies such as Rosetta
Stone or, more recently,
Mango, have offered
databases to libraries so
that library members can log
into the interactive
programs from home. But
they’re not commonly
available because "it’s
enormously expensive," she
Librarians say that foreign
language resources are in
frequent demand by library
But many libraries are too
strapped for funds to buy
the priciest tools with all
the bells and whistles. Home
versions of Rosetta Stone
can sell for about $500.
When she learned that the
library was offering the new
service, Veronica "Ronnie"
Andrew, 44, of Menomonee
Falls, jumped at the
opportunity. She said she’d
once had private lessons
from a German tutor a decade
or so ago but was
disappointed in herself for
letting the language fade to
the recesses of her mind.
Now she’s spending time at
the local library she
enjoys, an hour or two at a
time, once or twice a week,
and finds she can "plug
along pretty well" in
increasingly advanced German
Klager said the local
library foundation grant
paid for a half-dozen
laptops, licenses for a
dozen Rosetta Stone programs
and other materials.
One of the early users was a
college student majoring in
French who wanted a quick
brush-up before she studied
abroad. Another was a man
who was considering buying
the Japanese language
software but was unsure
about spending hundreds of
dollars for fear he wouldn’t
stick with it, so he wanted
to sample it. Another patron
wanted to communicate with
co-workers and improve his
résumé for job searches,
"I think most of us think
that learning a language
would be fun," she said.
"But learning from an audio
tape is difficult. This is
something that’s fun."
If a user makes it through
the three basic levels of
language on the programs,
"you won’t fool anyone into
thinking you’re native," she
said, "but you’ll get by."
Copyright 2009, Journal
Sentinel Inc. All rights
Sussex Way beyond books
Innovative services make the
- Sunday, September 6,
By KELLY SMITH
library on Main Street in the
Village of Sussex is one of the
largest, most modern library
facilities in Lake Country and
western Waukesha County.
Built in 1995, the library
contains about 80,000 volumes
and circulates more than 300,000
items annually including books,
magazines, audio tapes, CDs,
DVDs, and other materials.
The library features an
extensive online system that
enables patrons to inquire about
the availability of materials
throughout Waukesha County
libraries as well as renew
items, check due dates and
reserve materials on home-based
In addition, the library
provides a range of educational,
recreational and reading
programs for members of all ages
of the Lisbon-Sussex community.
Two of its newest features are
the Next Steps Employment
network program and the Rosetta
Stone language courses.
The employment program, which
meets every Wednesday morning,
provides local job seekers tips
on finding the right job, resume
building and interviewing
The software for language
instruction in Mandarin Chinese,
French, German and Spanish is
available for use in the library
by those ages 14 and older.
Youngsters under 14 may use the
language sessions if they are
accompanied by an adult.
Distinguished history The
library is named for
, the wife of a local farmer who
died in 1985 and bequeathed
about a half million dollars in
investments, a house, and 70
acres to the Town of Lisbon to
be used for a town library.
The donation was the catalyst
for elected officials in the
Town of Lisbon and the Village
of Sussex to jointly fund and
operate a library to serve the
more than 20,000 residents of
the Lisbon-Sussex community.
The Town of Lisbon, established
in 1836, is approximately 30
square miles and stretches from
the Village of Menomonee Falls
west to near the Village of
Merton, along Highway Q, which
separates Waukesha and
Commercial and retail
establishments serving the town
are generally located in the
Village of Sussex, which was
first settled in 1843. During
the late 1800s and early 1900s,
commercial, retail and
government buildings along with
a lumber company, rail line and
cannery were established in what
were then the villages of Sussex
In 1924, the two villages were
merged to become the Village of
Copyright 2009, Journal Sentinel
Inc. All rights reserved.
Lisbon, Sussex split library
"In these tough economic times, people have
been relying on the Pauline Haass Public Library
more than ever."
With that claim - supported by a variety of
statistics on increases in library use - library
officials unveiled the first draft of their
proposed 2010 budget last Wednesday at a joint
meeting of all three boards: Lisbon, Sussex and
All but the $50,000 allocated to the
library's capital fund (split on a 50-50 basis),
is divided between the two municipalities
according to their relative equalized values -
51 percent from Sussex next year and 49 percent
from Lisbon - as established by the joint
agreement that set up the library.
That means $579,413 from Sussex (an $18,510
or 3.3-percent or increase from 2009) and
$558,140 from Lisbon (just $5,417, or 0.98
percent, more than this year's town
Besides the two municipalities'
contributions, the library expects to receive
about $149,000 from other sources: about half
from the Waukesha County library tax (levied on
municipalities that don't have libraries),
another $41,000 from adjacent counties (based on
their residents' use of the Pauline Haass
Library), $27,000 from fines and smaller amounts
from other sources.
Lisbon Town Supervisor Dan Fischer asked why
the two communities used different formulas to
divide up the two budgets, operating expenses
(about $883,000 after other revenue sources are
deducted) and building loan repayments (about
$205,000) on the one hand, and the capital fund
on the other.
The Town of Lisbon would save $500 in 2010 if
the equalized formula applied to the capital
Library Board Chairman Emil Glodoski recalled
that the 50-50 formula was established when the
capital plan was created two years ago "in an
extraordinary moment of good will."
Library Director Kathy Klager called the
capital fund's creation - based on a seven-year
capital plan - a "brilliant" move that
stabilized such expenses, "minimizing sudden
jumps" in capital spending and "distributing
costs evenly" over those seven years.
At its creation, Sussex Village Administrator
Evan Teich had argued that the capital fund
could also help the library - and the two
municipalities supporting it - avoid running up
debts to pay for short-term capital expenses
that should be paid for by setting funds aside
each year for those needs as they arose.
Despite increased use - circulation rose 3
percent, library visits and reference questions
6 percent, Internet use 26 percent, study room
use 75 percent - the library still had to cut
book and audio book purchases by 5 percent this
year and computer replacements by 33 percent.
The library recycles staff computers that are
replaced by faster machines into the pool of
computers available to library users,
approximately doubling their more typical
three-year life spans, Klager explained.
The library has also saved on electricity
bills since 2007, when it installed
motion-sensor lights and replaced incandescent
with fluorescent bulbs.
"A recent energy audit by We Energies found
nothing to improve except the possible
installation of sensors in the restrooms,"
Klager noted, "but we're not going to do that."
The library also negotiated a new telephone
contract in 2008.
"We found out that we're a big business,"
Klager said, "and that gave us leverage to cut a
Fischer suggested the Library Board cut back
further by scaling back staff wage increases.
Klager defended the proposed 2-percent
increase as being in line with Sussex's proposed
increase for 2010.
Fischer countered by proposing a 1-percent
increase, which would yield a 2-percent average
increase over two years.
The board will consider that proposal at its
next meeting Oct. 14.
Almost all of the proposed budget's increases
next year come from contractual obligations,
Klager said, including the building debt, which
expires in 2014.
Sussex Village President Tony Lapcinski said
the two communities should think about revising
and renewing their commitment to the library by
2014, especially if the library needs to expand.
He pointed out that, although both Sussex and
Lisbon are committed to supporting the library
through the end of the building loan agreement,
the contract between the two communities
includes an opt-out clause with three months'
"Before we talk about committing to any
expansion, we have to sit down and look at this
agreement, which seems to be outdated," he
Lisbon Town Chairman Matt Gehrke said it was
"premature to talk about expansion. I understand
the concerns, but times are tough."
"It's a great library," he added, "and I
don't mean to discount those (space) concerns
"We're not talking about expansion before
2014," Klager pointed out, "and neither
community seems interested in pulling out, so
(future agreements) should be easy to handle."
Pressure to expand lessened recently, she
noted. "The population hasn't grown the way we
thought would happen," she said.
Although slower than anticipated, the
population will continue to grow, she added.
Quoting a visitor who recently toured the
library with some local officials, Klager said,
"She asked me, 'Are you going to build out or
build up?' I joked to myself, 'Who paid her to
ask that?' "
Both Lapcinski and Gehrke asked Klager if
there were any savings she could find, perhaps
by a "rotating furlough" of library staff.
Klager said that would be difficult because
the library employs only four full-time workers
who also get healthcare benefits; the remainder
is part time.
She said it would be difficult to apportion
furloughs fairly, given the uneven distribution
of hours among both the part-time and full-time
The only other place to cut would be in the
number of hours the library is open each week,
she said, something that would also be required
if staff hours are cut.
During the citizen comment portion of the
meeting that followed, Mona Day of Sussex argued
that this would be a bad time to cut hours.
"I've often seen this room filled with
unemployed people," she said. "In these tough
economic times, why would you take that away?"
She also decried the furlough suggestion. "It
goes along with the cut in hours idea," she
Though Lapcinski had originally proposed the
furlough idea, he said during an interview after
the meeting that he agreed with Day.
By the numbers
Besides the two municipalities'
contributions, the library expects to receive
about $149,000 from other sources:
• About half from the Waukesha County library
tax (levied on municipalities that don't have
• Another $41,000 from adjacent counties
(based on their residents' use of the Pauline
• $27,000 from fines and smaller amounts from
Library staff and
volunteers | Pauline Haass Public Library
Pauline Haass Public Library
The library staff and I are excited to start
this new column about the Pauline Haass Public
Library (PHPL). You can expect to read about
services that you might not know the library
offers; books, music and movie suggestions, new
formats, online searching tips and "back of the
store" information. The columnists will vary:
Ralph Illick and Becky Murray will write about
issues of interest to adults. Kerry Pinkner,
Susan Steffens, Kara Rosenthal, Katie Mueller
and Kirsten Mortimer will cover children and
teens. I'll chime in now and then.
PHPL has both a vision and a mission. Our
vision (that far-reaching goal) is to be a
leader, providing innovative library services to
encourage lifelong learning and enrich our
community. The mission (what we do) is to
promote literacy, and connect people to
information, ideas, and one another in a
vibrant, welcoming environment. It all sounds
very nice, but what does it mean? Let me pull
out a few key words and phrases for you,
starting with "enrich our community." That (and
the promise of some really good steel-cut
oatmeal with fruit and nuts) is the part that
gets me out of bed every morning. What better
job could a person ask for? At PHPL, we try to
do all we can to make the lives of our residents
better, easier and more interesting. By doing
so, we hope to make the Sussex-Lisbon community
a richer place for all.
A public library today is probably much
different from the quiet place that you remember
from your childhood. For one thing, the library
is no longer just a place. We have electronic
databases, online book clubs, and a Web page and
catalog that are available even when the
building is closed. I hope you will regularly
use the library Web site,
www.phplonline.org. It changes frequently,
and includes a Google calendar from which you
can transfer reminders about upcoming events.
" … connect people to information, ideas, and
one another … " is a major phrase in this
library's mission. You'll notice it doesn't say
we provide access; that's too passive. We strive
to put information and ideas in front of you, to
reach out and say, "Hey, you might be interested
in this!" So, at PHPL, you will see lots of
displays and hear staff members telling you
about something new they think fits your reading
patterns. You'll also hear some noise.
Connecting people with information and ideas
generates excitement; connecting them with one
another generates conversation. Whether people
meet in the library's book clubs, at speaker
programs, at children's events, or during the
March art show, they're connecting with, and
learning to care about, one another, which
enriches the community.
Connecting people to information also means
that you don't have to know where to find the
information. Leave that to us; just call us,
e-mail us, or stop in and ask a question and
we'll try to find an answer for you. Does your
mother need in-home care? Are your houseplants
dying? Do you need to apply for government
benefits? Are you looking for information about
a health condition, a new law, a travel
destination? Do you just not know where to turn
to solve a problem? Call (262) 246-5181 to speak
to a librarian about adult issues, and (262)
246-5182 to get information for kids and teens.
We "promote literacy" and that sounds simple.
But we're talking about all kinds of literacy,
not just the ability to read books in English.
We promote cultural literacy by bringing in
speakers and making current videos and music
available. We promote technological literacy by
offering free personal computer training
sessions. And we promote language literacy by
having Rosetta Stone loaded on laptops for use
in the library. Of course, we haven't forgotten
reading, and our storytimes, laptimes, and Music
& More all introduce children to the rhythms,
colors and stories inherent in reading.
The last part of this library's mission says
that we do all this in "a vibrant, welcoming
environment." We want you to feel that the
library is your other family room, a place you
use to relax, to socialize, to play and to
learn. Whether it's plopping down with a good
novel or newspaper near the south windows
overlooking the garden, playing chess or
checkers, watching a puppet show that your
children put on, researching a new car purchase,
learning a language, or Web surfing, there's
plenty for you and your family to do here.
Kathy Klager is Director of the Pauline
Haass Public Library; for questions or more
information, call Klager at (262) 246-5180.
The library is open seven days a week
during the school year. From 1 to 4 p.m. on
Sundays is a popular time for family visits or
last-minute homework. Currently, annual
checkouts exceed 321,000 and an average of more
than 400 people a day use the library building.
Our goal with this column is to give you reasons
to be one of them.
Cool reaction to
for the Pauline
Haas Library is
some of his
and is not being
embraced by one
focus first on
library and deal
planning for the
future of the
unless there is
a change to a
clause in the
are retired, to
90 days notice.
that clause, we
cannot plan on
buying a new
out that there
survive from one
year to the next
because of the
as 2014 draws
closer and the
continue to pay
that can be
are also nearly
15,000 audio and
video tapes that
can be checked
the library last
checked out of
the library last
year, 45 percent
were by Sussex
and 26 percent
he and the
members of the
Town Board are
committed to the
library. He said
he would support
extension of the
of the library
cost is reduced.
Gehrke said the
budget each year
- about $425,000
to $450,000 -
about 50 percent
more than Lisbon
share of the
costs should be
based on the
of the library
rather than the
amount of the
valuations - the
of all property
- in the two
the same and so
share of the
use the library
$150,000 to the
"If all they
want is to lower
the cost to
Lisbon, then I
don't see how
a Village Board
week the private
had been going
on between him
members have not
issue, and two
Dan Heier and
Ryan Lippert -
liaisons to the
not been told by
Gehrke about the
was having with
Heier said he
did not think
to be changed
agreed to a
might be more
did not want the
be linked to
between the town
Dan Fischer said
issues could be
"There is no
rush; 2014 is
still a few
Library next issue for Lisbon-Sussex
Annexation resolution raises tensions between village, town
The President of the Pauline Haass Library Board is optimistic that growing tensions between elected officials in the Town of Lisbon and the Village of Sussex over an annexation resolution adopted last week by the village board will not interfere with negotiations over a new joint library agreement expected to begin later this month.
Emil Glodoski said elected officials in both communities "take great pride in the fact that the library serves both communities and they take pride in fact that they had been able to work together on the library which they see as 'the crown jewel' of the two communities."
"There has been a history of differences between the boards in the two communities but when it comes to the library they have somehow always been able to work together," he concluded.
Glodoski of the Town of Lisbon has served about 10 years on the board. The village and town boards appoint members to the Library Board which oversees operations of the seventh largest library in Waukesha County.
Library officials want discussions on a new agreement to begin as soon as possible. They say it is difficult for the library staff and board to plan for the future because the existing agreement between the two communities expires in 2014.
The Library Board is scheduled to meet with the village and town board on Aug. 18.
It was apparent last that week that relationships between the town and village boards were strained by the Village Board's 6 to 1 vote indicating its willingness to annex all lands in the town despite pleas from Town Chairman Matt Gehrke that the resolution would "send the wrong signal" to residents of both communities.
Village Attorney John Macy emphasized the resolution was adopted to maintain the village's legal options regarding efforts by town residents to incorporate, or upgrade, their form of government from a town to a village.
Village President Tony Lapcinski added adopting the resolution was necessary if village officials wanted to raise issues relating to municipal services during incorporation hearings.
Lapcinski noted that while Sussex and Lisbon have similar populations, Sussex has a larger police force, more parks, and provides more services to its residents than the Town of Lisbon offers it constituents.
Trustee Fred Gallant asserted that town officials and residents have not "fairly compensated" the village for providing services that town residents seek.
"I had always hoped we could find some common ground but it has become apparent to me that there are those in Lisbon who want their cake and eat it too at the expense of the village," Gallant concluded.
Gehrke urged the trustees to work with town supervisors on increasing shared services between the communities rather than passing a resolution threatening annexation of town lands.
Gehrke said the town board would consider paying a greater share of the costs of any shared services in which they believed the town benefitted more than the village.
Town Supervisor Joe Osterman later added, "I asked some of the trustees after the meeting what Sussex services they thought Lisbon was using and the only thing they could name was the Fourth of July Fireworks and Lions Daze."
Trustee Pat Tetzlaff voted against the resolution arguing there might be other alternatives than adopting a resolution that she believed would set back improving relationships between the governing bodies.
Lisbon-Sussex leaders clash in library talks
Conflict surrounds renewing library agreement
Village of Sussex — Elected officials in the Village of Sussex and Town of Lisbon appear to be on the verge of something that some of their constituents asked them not to do: playing politics with the Pauline Haass Public Library.
Town Chairman Matt Gehrke and Village President Tony Lapcinski had an intense exchange during a meeting last week that was supposed to initiate negotiations between the governing bodies of the communities over a joint library agreement.
"We would like to see something secured for the long term. There needs to be a trust between the communities, and right now that trust is not there," Gehrke said.
Gehrke asserted that some of the issues between the communities that have prompted the mistrust need to be addressed.
Lapcinski responded that the library negotiations should "stand alone" and be separated from the other issues.
"I don't think we should politicize the library discussions with 'I will give you this if you give me that,' " he said.
But Lapcinski acknowledged that recently elected leaders in both communities have not been successful in establishing a trusting relationship.
"I have made great headway with Menomonee Falls, the City of Pewaukee and Merton, but I have been a failure with Lisbon. I don't know how that has happened," he said.
Although Lapcinski and Gehrke said the governing boards are committed to reaching an agreement, their sometimes sharp exchanges concerned some members of the Library Board and other municipal officials.
"I cannot believe what I am hearing. I just can't believe it," said Sussex Trustee Pat Tetzlaff, who acknowledged she was "flabbergasted" by the exchange between the two leaders.
She said the two governing bodies had an obligation to reach an agreement because of the money and effort donated to the library by both communities.
"You say you want to run this place like a business. It is more than a business; it is a moral calling," she added.
Lisbon Library Board member Robert Williams warned that time might be running out on the communities to reach a new agreement.
Williams, a former town supervisor, pointed out that the agreement expires in 2014.
However, he noted either community could withdraw from the agreement within 90 days after the approximately $250,000 to $300,000 building debt is paid off.
"Either of you are capable of paying off the debt tomorrow," he said. "You don't have time, you have got to get this worked out now!
"If you continue to fight the way you are, one of you is going to get so upset that you might pull out," he concluded.
Sussex resident Len Anhalt, president emeritus of the library foundation, pleaded with village trustees and town supervisors to work together in reaching a new library agreement.
"Please do not play political games with this important facility that is such a treasure to the communities," he said.
There are no indications when negotiations between the Town and Village boards will begin.
Library Board Chairman Emil Glodoski described each section of the agreement to the Village and Town boards.
So far, the key issues appear to be whether to continue the present formula for funding and the library and how to extend the process for terminating the agreement.
Library Board members would like to extend the amount of notice a community has to give to terminate the agreement from 90 days to five years.
Gehrke has suggested each community's share of funds for the library should be based on how frequently residents in that community use the library.
He has said Sussex residents use the library more than Lisbon residents.
The present formula is based on the size of the tax base of each of communities, which happens to be about the same size, which means the communities almost equally divide their share of the cost of the library operations and debt.
Pauline Haass Public Library
The logo you see included in this column is
something I hope that you start seeing, and
recognizing, in many places. It's the Pauline
Haass Public Library's first ever logo and
tagline. For years, other staff and I have
wanted a logo, but there were always reasons to
put it off: there were more important goals to
be met, designing a logo wasn't a skill we had,
and where was the money going to come from to
hire a graphic artist to do it?
What finally got the ball rolling was the
tagline. Having seen taglines for various
companies, and realizing how well they summarize
the business's philosophy and mission in a
memorable way, I started thinking about what a
tagline for PHPL would look like.
I did some looking around, both nearby and
farther afield. Brookfield's library uses,
"Where to go when you want to know." Eagle says
it's "the little library with big ideas."
Waukesha strives to be "the community's best
source for inspiration, ideas, and information."
Pewaukee Public Library, located a short
distance from the lake, has a clever tag line of
"Keeping you current." Delafield, meanwhile, is
"Keeping you connected." Mukwonago's library is
"Rooted in the Past, growing for Tomorrow,"
Omaha Public Library says, "Open Your World."
Phoenix Public Library says it's "Yours to
Explore." Boston Public Library asks, "What do
You Want to Know?" and West Palm Beach's library
is "An Oasis of Knowledge." They're all good
taglines, although the Oasis one might not fit
too well here in Wisconsin.
With all that inspiration, we gave more
thought to what it is that makes this library
special to the community. Yes, we have thousands
of wonderful books, videos and music CDs. Yes,
we offer popular children's and adult
programming. Yes, we have bright and helpful
reference librarians to answer your questions.
But what's the overarching philosophy? Here's
what we concluded: at the Pauline Haass Public
Library, we're here to help you reach whatever
goals you have for yourselves or your children.
That might be learning to read, getting a new
job, repairing an appliance, becoming a citizen,
or learning to handle a chronic illness.
We're here to help you get "anywhere" you
want to go. We believe your possibilities are
endless, regardless of your background or
financial position, and that it's our job to do
what it takes to help you achieve those
possibilities. When you don't know where to
start, we want you to know you can start here at
your local library, the Pauline Haass Public
Library. Boiling that down, we came up with
"Start here, Go anywhere." (Yes, grammarians, I
know there should be a semicolon in there and
the G should be lower case, but this version was
So, okay, we had a tagline that summarized
our philosophy! There was still the matter of
that pesky logo. Have you ever done a Google
search for library logos? Not a pretty sight.
You've never seen so many versions of books, or
for the libraries trying to get across the
message that we're more than books, outdated
pictures of computers. I really didn't want
either of those. And I didn't want a picture of
the building, because PHPL offers so much
online, not just in the building, and also
because books, computers, and buildings don't
represent our philosophy.
With these thoughts in mind, I turned to
Chris Aykroid, an area resident and library user
who is also a graphic artist and website
orionweb.net. Chris donates his design
skills to our Friends of the Library group to
produce the eye-catching posters you see for the
library's adult programs. His work is terrific
and he's a pleasure to work with. This time,
with funds donated by the Friends, we actually
offered to pay him! Chris gave us several
completely different logo ideas. His personal
favorite was a tongue-in-cheek logo of the head
of a bun-wearing young woman (Pauline, in his
mind), with a cleverly designed earlobe and
earring that formed a question mark. I tested it
on some of our volunteers, Friends, Foundation
members, and staff. While some of the others
liked it, the staff uniformly hated it! While
"Pauline" was attractive, she hit too close to
the stereotype for the women, and I didn't even
want to ask what our male staff members thought.
The design you see above was favored by the
strong majority. We think it's simple,
expansive, fresh, energetic, and conveys the "Go
anywhere" optimism. And despite the fact that I
personally wanted to stay away from a book icon,
those who want to see a book in it can easily do
so! We hope you'll enjoy it, and that you'll
start here, at PHPL, the next time you want to
head somewhere new.
Agreement on library
tonight to discuss
Agreement on library budget expected
Officials met Wednesday to discuss cost shares
Kathy Klager is
officials in the
Sussex and Town
of Lisbon will
not prevent them
from reaching an
agreement on the
"It is such a
what is there
not to like?"
she said during
that a cloud may
29, at 7 p.m. in
Graphics Room of
the library, by
bigger if the
Board, at a
Sept. 28, adopts
a proposal that
the village to
pay 20 percent
more of the
library costs as
part of a new
calls for each
and $550,000 of
and debt service
funds come from
fines and other
less than 1
percent. It cuts
legal fees, and
are increased by
the same as the
Sussex share of
the costs is
from $550,750 to
Town of Lisbon's
share is reduced
by about a
the town pays
too much for the
library and had
a meeting of the
month to begin
the formula is
it is based
solely on land
values and does
not take into
that based on
the library more
than Town of
there are other
that need to be
resolved as part
of the library
Lisbon wants to
agreement is so
it will pay less
that while there
are more than
and video tapes
and other items
more than 11,000
2010. In 2009,
to more than
are 11 computers
library hours to
with access to
does not collect
to the reference
is the seventh
and has been
operated by a
funded by the
Sussex-Lisbon deadlocked on library?
The Town of Lisbon and Village of Sussex appear to be headed for an impasse over Pauline Haass Library funding beyond 2014 even though elected leaders of the two communities have yet to begin serious negotiations over an operating agreement for the jointly owned library.
The Lisbon Town Board was expected to adopt a new operating agreement Tuesday, Sept. 28, that would require the Village of Sussex to pay 20 percent more for library expenses.
The proposal is in stark contrast to a resolution adopted by the Village Board last month, which provides that any new agreement maintains the existing funding formula, which is based on the equalized assessed valuation of the each of the communities.
The intermunicipal agreement creating the library that is funded by the two communities is scheduled to expire in 2014. Library officials have asked the two communities to reach a new agreement as soon as possible so the Library Board and staff can begin planning beyond 2014.
Since the two communities' assessed valuations are similar, so are their shares of library funding.
The proposed 2011 budget calls for Sussex to contribute $560,190, about a $9,200 increase above 2010, and for Lisbon to pay $529,618, a reduction of about $1,000 compared to the 2010 budget.
But Town Chairman Matt Gehrke said the formula is unfair because Village of Sussex residents use the library more than town residents, based on circulation data.
According to the data, Sussex residents check out 49 percent of the approximately 329,000 circulated books and materials, compared to Lisbon residents 29 percent. The remainder is checked out by residents of other communities.
Library Director Kathy Klager has pointed out that circulation is only one barometer of library use. For example, there are about 11,000 children, teenagers and adults who participate in library programs, but, so far, there is no data tracking their hometown communities.
Gehrke has proposed a formula that is based both on the assessed valuation and Sussex's use of the library. The Village of Sussex would pay 20 percent of the approximately $1 million in cost shared by the two communities. The remaining 80 percent would be shared by the communities based on each community's equalized assessed valuation.
Nine of the 25 jointly operated libraries in the state base their local funding formula on a combination of factors, including assessed valuations. In addition to assessed valuation, some use population, others use circulation or the number of library cards per community, and some evenly divide the costs based on the number of communities in the library agreement.
For example, the joint library operated by Mequon/Thiensville bases its fund-sharing formula on a combination of population, circulation and equalized valuation.
The City of Marshfield and the Town of McMillan determine the town's share of the library cost based on the amount the town would pay in county library taxes or the amount the town pays based on town use of the library over a three-year average, whichever is highest. The library is owned and operated by the city.
The Villages of Little Chute and Kimberly divide library costs based on population and assessed valuation.
"I think the data strengthens our argument that the formula can be based on something else than assessed valuation," according to Gehrke.
Village Trustee Pat Tetzlaff said in an interview she is willing consider a funding formula change but said chances are "slim to none" that the village board would be willing to increase its share of the library cost by 20 percent.
Village Administrator Jeremy Smith added that state-imposed limits on the size of the village's tax levy would make it impractical for the village to sustain that large of a library funding increase.
Pauline Haass Library Director Kathy Klager is optimistic that the library's 2011 budget will be accepted. See story on page A13.
New faces at library bring
Chances are you're noticing some new faces at
the Pauline Haass Public Library these days.
"We have had some exciting changes in
staffing, and I know that the new mix of staff
members is bound to bring ideas and experiences
that will make the library even more dynamic,"
said Library Director Kathy Klager.
Klager is referring to Becky Murray, recently
promoted to head of Adult Services; Jannis
Mindel, who started in November as a
30-hour-a-week Youth Services Librarian; and
Eric Grob, the newest of the three, who joined
the library as a full-time Adult Services
librarian in mid-January.
Mindel brings 12 years of experience,
including nine at Chicago Public Library
branches. Klager considers Mindel's experience
in multiple Chicago branches to be valuable. "It
gives Jannis a breadth of experience, in
addition to the depth of her years of work.
She's seen library service delivered many
different ways, to many different demographics."
Grob comes to the library with a new master's
degree in Library and Information Science, and
experience working at a branch of Seattle Public
Library during his student days. "Eric brings us
that fresh perspective of librarianship that's
so important. But he also is well-seasoned from
his time at Seattle Public, so he's not a
theory-only guy," Klager said. Grob is
originally from Wisconsin, and received his
undergraduate degree from University of
All three of these staff members are
well-immersed in technology. Klager knew she
wanted to promote and hire people who are
"gadget lovers" as well as people lovers.
"Whether it's an e-mail accessed on their
smartphone about an item that's ready to be
picked up, an audiobook downloaded through our
website to be listened to on an iPod, or an
e-book downloaded from the library to a Nook or
Sony eReader, our customers are increasingly
interacting with us digitally. It's essential
that staff understand their needs and help them
get our resources easily. We need to be speaking
the same language."
Klager encourages residents to stop in the
library and meet the new librarians. "We're here
to help you seven days a week, and would love to
know what you'd like to see in your library."
Officials may meet
soon about agreement
Sussex - A
who is a newly
of the Pauline
Board says he is
willing to go
with the Town of
Lisbon over a
"an open mind"
but he is not
support a town
funds for the
"I think it
that everyone go
into this with
an open mind. We
(the Village of
Sussex) have a
and there are
some new people
on the board,"
appointed to the
Library Board by
added, "I think
formula is just
to the existing
in which each
to $450,000 a
year to library
Matt Gehrke has
called for a
change in the
formula that he
says should more
reflect the fact
the library more
Gehrke has said
he could support
an extension of
of the library
Klager last year
focus first on
library and deal
future of the
library could be
unless there is
a change in the
pull out of the
90 days notice
after 2014 when
the loans on the
paid off and the
leaders in the
the outcome of
Sussex in April.
Town of Lisbon
Glodoski sent a
letter two weeks
ago asking the
one of a number
of issues he
the near future
"My goal is
to meet with
Greg on a wide
one of them,
who added he was
not sure how
soon they would
be able to meet.
that there was
session the Town
on Monday, May 9
to discuss the
between the two
between the two
communities as a
result of Sussex
effort by town
into a village.
a violation of
the agreement by
failing to share
the village and
impasse over the
agreement as an
Some town and
the two issues
are, or may,
replaces on the
Steve Berger who
did not seek
to the efforts
Lisbon as a
He was asked
if the town's
surplus in its
would become an
issue in the
"I don't care
how much money
they have or
don't have. Both
in size and this
money so that if
wanted to use
there would be
enough money to
don't choose to
use the library
as much as
is up to them
but I want to
make sure there
is enough money
linked to library
Lisbon, Sussex to
Lisbon - It
between the Town
of Lisbon and
the Village of
Sussex over the
Library can be
between the two
should become a
over the library
reached during a
May 25, at the
of the village,
town and Library
Ryan Lippert are
in two weeks in
an effort to
framework of an
will allow the
Jeff Musche and
was exempt from
there was not a
quorum of any of
the three units
the Town and
and the Library
there was a
consensus at the
although it was
not unanimous -
that he and
take the lead
role in the
having Goetz and
Gehrke try to
agreed there was
the two chief
Gehrke, in a
be doing some
talks between he
and Goetz would
He said that any
need the support
of the town
he thought the
town and village
provisions for a
asked whether it
was possible to
from the ongoing
noted that the
town thinks the
between the two
to become a
has asserted the
town is being
unfair share of
share the cost
based on their
resulted in the
paying an almost
more, based on
perhaps as much
as about $80,000
Klager asked the
the library in
order to reach a
remainder of the
with only 90
days notice once
debts on the
said he thinks
could pay off
told the elected
it is difficult
for her staff
and the Library
Board to plan
for the future
since there is
about how long
Library agreement pending
Sussex, Lisbon may discuss new funding formula
Village of Sussex - Village trustees were expected to discuss in a closed session Tuesday night, July 12, possible changes in an agreement between the Village and Town of Lisbon that determines how the two communities share in the funding and operations of the Pauline Haass Library. (The closed session took place after the Sussex Sun went to press).
Trustee Tim Dietrich is expected to brief the Village Board, as well as its staff and lawyers, on progress made during a series of private negotiations between Dietrich, Town Board member Ryan Lippert, library director Kathy Klager and Library Board Chairman Emil Goldoski, according to Dietrich and other Village officials.
While Dietrich and Lippert, in separate interviews, provided different perspectives on the status of the talks, they agreed the private discussions have been productive and have helped build a relationship of trustee between them at a time when their respective elected boards have been carrying on a "Hatfield and McCoys" relationship.
Dietrich indicated a "tentative agreement" was reached during a meeting Thursday night, July 7, at the library. He declined to provide specifics on the agreement, but said he would brief Village trustees during the closed session.
"I think my fellow trustees should be told about it before they read it the newspaper," Dietrich said.
Lippert, however, described the proposals as "an idea that intrigued both of us and we want to look into it further." But, he said, there is no tentative agreement.
"The bottom line at the end of the day is there is no agreement until it has been approved by both boards," he said.
Lippert said he has not yet briefed Town Board members on the proposal that may create a new funding formula by which the two communities contribute to library operations.
The present agreement provides each community's contribution is based on the value of residential and commercial real estate as determined by the state.
Those property values are nearly equal in the two communities and consequently the town and village have each paid about $425,000 to $450,000 annually toward the library's operations.
Lippert said a new agreement may create a funding formula in which the two communities would contribute to library operations based on their respective property values, population, and library usage.
The proposed formula is similar to one used by several other jointly owned community libraries in the state including Mequon and Thiensville, Lippert added.
The formula, if adopted, would appear to strike a compromise between the two communities and the Library Board
Klager asked the communities last year to begin negotiations on a new agreement since the existing agreement's terms and conditions change in 2014, after bonds for the library building are paid off. After 2014, the agreement will continue from year to year with either community having the ability to terminate the agreement.
Klager said unless that clause is changed, future planning for the library is "problematic" because there would be no assurances the library can survive from one year to the next.
Sussex officials said they were willing to change the language in the agreement but wanted to maintain the existing funding formula. Town Chairman Matt Gehrke said he would not agree to new language until the funding formula was changed.
Gehrke argued the existing formula is unfair to the town because Sussex residents use the library more than Lisbon residents.
Gehrke said in an interview Monday that he has not yet been briefed by Lippert on the talks.
Gehrke and Village President Greg Goetz agreed to the idea of having a village trustee and a town board member meet separately in an effort to hammer out an agreement. The two elected chief executives were hoping that the private negotiations between the two and the library staff would keep those talks separate from other issues that have divided the town and village boards.
Both men said their respective boards want to continue joint operation of the library and they expressed confidence that some agreement would be worked out between the communities.
Sussex may support new library plan
New funding agreement is discussed
Village of Sussex - There may be a consensus building among Village trustees to support a proposal to change the formula that determines how much money the Village and Town of Lisbon each contribute to the operations of the Pauline Haas Library.
The proposal, however, has not been presented to the Town Board and there have been no public discussions of it by either municipalities. It is unclear when the citizens of the two communities will have an opportunity to review and comment on the proposal.
The proposal calls for each community's contribution to the library to be based on the size of each community's tax base, population and the amount of use of the library by the residents of each community
Presently, the Town and Village each annually pay between $425,000 and $450,000, based on their respective commercial and residential real estate values, their tax base, as determined by state authorities. Town Chairman Matt Gherkin has been insisting on a change in that formula because, he argues, Village residents use the library more than town residents and therefore the Village should pay more to support the library.
The new plan is a product of private negotiations between Village Trustee Tim Dietrich, Town Supervisor Ryan Lippert and representatives of the library.
The proposal was the first item on the agenda of an approximately one-hour closed Village Board meeting Thursday, July 14.
Dietrich declined to provide details of the discussion other than to say no one on the Village Board voiced opposition to the tentative proposal and there may be a consensus building in support of it.
But, he emphasized, there are number of details to be worked out and issues resolved, which he said he would not discuss, before the proposal has a chance of becoming reality.
Dietrich said he intended to meet again on August 11 with Lippert, Library Director Kathy Klager, and Library Board Chairman Emil Glodoski.
Lippert said last week he may present details of the proposal to the Town Board after the August 11 meeting. Lippert has said it is too premature to discuss the proposal with town supervisors until library officials complete additional research on the proposal and Dietrich met with the Village Board.
Gehrke and Village President Greg Goetz appointed Lippert and Dietrich to try to negotiate the concepts of a new library agreement.
Klager has urged the communities to adopt a new agreement because the present agreement will become a year-to-year contact after 2014, when the debt on the library building is jointly paid off by the communities. Klager has said it is difficult for the library board and staff to engage in long-range planning if there is only a short-term agreement between the communities.
According to several sources, some of the key issues that must be resolved are how to implement the agreement, amend it in the event of changes in the formula, and resolve any disputes between Lisbon and Sussex over the contract.
Apparently there are discussions regarding whether there should be three parts to the formula - tax base, population and library usage - or whether library usage and population should be combined into one of two elements of the formula.
There are also questions about what to do if there is a change in one of the components of the formula during the life of the agreement. For example, sould there be an adjustment of the village's contribution if there was a dramatic change in the Village's tax base as the result of a large new commercial development along Highway 164.
The issue of how to resolve disputes is a particularly sensitive one. The Town and Village are presently trying to find a way to resolve the dispute created by the Village's intervention into a citizen group's effort to incorporate the Town into the Village.
Library salaries debated
No funding formula talk at budget meeting
Raises will keep
No funding formula
talk at budget
the Lisbon Town
Board and Sussex
argument that a
increase was too
Gehrke and Goetz
As part of a
share the cost
and most of the
based on the
share of the
will be included
in the Town
2012 tax levy.
budget calls for
$561,813 to debt
share of the
is $2,167 higher
than 2011, and
pay $1,803 more
for debt service
in 2012 than
increases in the
share of the
debt service is
scheduled to be
higher in 2012
share of the
expected to be
$194 lower than
of $429,725 is
$194 higher in
for the decrease
in costs to
Sussex and the
was a slight
base during the
share of the
debt costs has
heavier usage of
the library by
cost the village
as much as
formula that is
based on the
amount of each
and usage of the
their plan will
$13,000 a year.
But there was
no mention of
over a new
formula at the
Sept. 27 meeting
at the library
with the two
solely on the
increase in 2012
by 1.2 percent
will include a
to a statewide
access to $1
million worth of
will decrease by
that new state
covered by the
plan to pay 50
percent of the
The new law
to pay for all
of the employee
can be used to
help pay for
argued that the
levels at the
library are no
Even with the
remain as much
as 25 percent
of the pay
out that many
taxpayers in the
not received a
raise for a
number of years
because of the
pay raises might
be phased in
over two years.
how the salary
be paid for in
future years if
could not raise
needs to take
advantage of the
provided by the
out that there
staff at the
is difficult to
may raise and
to the library
but are not
Library Board on
how to spend
Signs for subject matter are now displayed in the Pauline Haass Public Library. The new signs and shelving are part of the library's reorganization that creates more of a bookstore feel for browsing. Photo by: Kelly [email protected]
Dewey system takes backseat new browsing method
The Pauline Haass Public Library has reinvented how you search for its books. Before, patrons may have found themselves cross-eyed trying to decipher the Dewey Decimal system while searching for a book. Now they can simply browse a subject area to find many related offerings.
Earlier this month, the library unveiled Project BEE: Browsing Easier for Everyone. BEE is a hybrid of what other libraries have done to organize their information to make books easier to find.
After closing for a few days to shuffle 37,000 volumes of books to a mobile book cart and then to new shelving, patrons can move more freely around the library. Signs direct you to different subject areas and book spines have specific icons that show they relate, like a bright red heart on all romance novels.
"A 2009 study showed that 63 percent of library users want to go straight to the right area without having to use a catalog," said Kathy Klager, library director. "We know from watching our customers that the tall forest of nonfiction shelving, designated only by Dewey Decimal numbers, is intimidating. We don't often see people going into those aisles to browse. We wanted to change that; there are terrific books in there, and we just have to make them easier to come across."
Users like it
Becky Murray, head of adult services, said the reorganization has been well-received by patrons.
"It's been a little hard with things on different shelves but people like the new groupings. Things are now together in genres and in alphabetical order," said Murray.
She said the library has kept the same functionality it always had but what's changed is how you browse.
BEE groups its books by subject which puts books in shelving together; in the old system they may have been separated.
An example Murray gave is someone looking for information on a specific disease, like HIV or diabetes. could find ways to cure it in one section, but might miss other books on living with the disease shelved across the library.
"In the health category the majority of books used to be in the 600s, but some in the 300s might be a social science way of looking like living with HIV or diabetes as opposed to treating the disease. We wanted to bring those together," Murray explained.
Keep it simple
While the new concept is all about keeping things simple, the process to get to this point was a hefty undertaking. The library began looking at ways to better serve its patrons in May 2010. Staff watched a webinar last December called "Some Dewey, Some Don't" created by a library in Illinois.
"We must adjust to our customers, not expect them to use the library the way we do," reads a handout explaining how BEE came about.
During the year staff visited libraries that have launched their own reorganizations. From those visits, they decided to come up with BEE, which is a hybrid approach of keeping the Dewey system while offering subject browsing similar to a bookstore.
Staff was able to get a deal on extra shelving from Borders bookstores that closed this spring, and they also received a grant from the Pauline Haass Library foundation to purchase the shelving and create signs.
Earlier this year, Murray said they launched a pilot version of BEE with home, garden and food sections tracking circulation among those books. Murray said from June to December circulation in that section went up 11 percent.
"The new garden area includes books about gardening and landscaping, which were aisles apart in the Dewey system because one is in the 600s and the other in the 700s," explained Murray. "But most people want to look at both of them when thinking about their yards. In the old arrangement, when they found a gardening or landscaping book they assumed they were seeing all the library had; they never knew that there were many more books in another aisle."
Klager is sure that there will be disagreements about where a book has been assigned. "We know that a customer will tell us that a particular title belongs in suspense, not mystery; or psychology, not relationships.
"That's wonderful. It shows our library users are engaged, love to talk about what they're reading, and know that we listen to them. Changing a book's category takes less than one minute, so if we've made an unpopular call on a book it's easy to change."
For more information on Project BEE or other library services, call (262) 246-5180.
progress' in Lisbon, Sussex talks
Village of Sussex
- The "Hatfield-McCoy"
relationship between the Town of
Lisbon and the Village of Sussex
may be coming to an end.
The governing bodies of the
two communities are holding a
series of closed door sessions
in an effort to resolve some of
the issues that divide them.
The Lisbon Town Board met
behind closed doors Monday
night. The Sussex Village board
was entering the second hour of
a closed session at 9 p.m.
Town Chairman Matt Gehrke
said the Lisbon board may hold
another closed session later
this week depending upon the
outcome of tonight's village
Village President Greg Goetz
said he will brief Gehrke on the
village board meeting after it
Goetz responded "yes" when he
was asked if the series of
meeting was an indication there
had been substantial progress
made in the talks between the
"We are all working very
hard. This is good for the
Village of Sussex. It is good
for the Town of Lisbon. It is
good for the entire community,"
he said before village trustees
met behind closed doors.
Goetz said the negotiations
between the communities have
involved "very, very broad
concepts" rather than the
details of issues like library
funding, border agreements and
the possible incorporation of
the Town of Lisbon into a
Goetz and Gehrke said there
is a possibility the two
communities might issue another
joint statement. Earlier this
year, the communities agreed in
a joint statement they had found
some "common ground" after
meetings involving Goetz,
Gehrke, Town Supervisor Joe
Osterman, and Village Trustee
Negotiators for the Town of Lisbon and the Village of Sussex are apparently closing in on a new formula for funding the Pauline Haass Library, but the Town Board is not likely to vote on the proposal until after an Aug. 14 advisory referendum on consolidating the two communities.
Village Trustee Tim Dietrich and Town Supervisor Ryan Lippert have been the lead negotiators in a nearly yearlong effort to craft the funding formula as part of a new long-term agreement between the municipalities. Sussex and Lisbon jointly own the library.
The existing agreement calls for the communities contributing to operating costs of the library based on their respective tax base, which is about a billion dollars for each community.
Town Chairman Matt Gehrke has been insisting on a new formula that would require the village to pay about $80,000 to $100,000 more than the town because village residents use the library more than town residents, according to library circulation figures.
"It is my understanding that Ryan and Tim are close. I am just not sure whether it is close on just the funding formula or the entire agreement," Gehrke said in an interview last week.
Lippert and Dietrich also indicated in separate interviews that they are close to an agreement but would not discuss the details until the proposal was presented to their respective boards.
Gehrke said he does not anticipate there will be a debate or vote on any library funding proposal until after the consolidation advisory referendum. As town chairman, Gehrke controls Town Board meeting agendas.
Town voters will be asked on Aug. 14: "If the terms of a consolidation were reasonable, would you be for or against consolidating Lisbon with Sussex to form a new municipality?"
"I don't see any point in having a possibly contentious debate over library funding that will take away from the discussions on consolidation," Gehrke said.
"If I thought it would be a 7-0 (Town Board) and 5-0 (Village Board) vote on library funding, I might think differently. But I don't think that is going to happen," he added.
Gehrke said he has not discussed with Lippert the details of any agreement that Lippert and Dietrich may have reached.
"Ryan knows where I stand, and I trust him," added Gehrke.
The discussions between Lippert, Dietrich, the library staff and Library Chairman Emil Glodoski have apparently focused on a funding formula that would take into account each community's population, tax base and library use.
The existing long-term library agreement expires in 2014. After 2014, the agreement continues on a year-to-year basis.
Library officials have asked the two municipalities to create a new long-term agreement, which would allow library officials to make long-range plans.
Library Board bylaws
While Ryan and Dietrich have been negotiating the funding formula, Library Board members have been discussing updates to the bylaws within with the library operates.
During a Library Board discussion two weeks ago, board member Bob Williams, a former town supervisor, questioned why the board should be revising the bylaws while the consolidation discussions were pending.
Williams, who was one of the leaders in the unsuccessful attempt to incorporate the town into a village, pointed out that if Lisbon and Sussex are consolidated into a new municipality there will no longer be a need for a joint municipal agreement operating the library.
Despite his arguments, Library Board members agreed to continue their discussions over the new bylaws in the event the consolidation effort failed.
Three members of the Pauline Haass Library Board have expressed confidence that a tentative agreement between the Town of Lisbon and the Village of Sussex on funding operations of the library will be approved by the governing boards of the two municipalities.
The Lisbon Town Board is expected to discuss the agreement for the first time at its Aug. 27 meeting. Village officials are not certain whether the proposed agreement would be discussed at their Aug. 28 Village Board meeting or later in September.
Village Administrator Jeremy Smith said last week he is prepared to present a contingency plan to the Village Board that would enable the library to continue to operate in Sussex if the Town of Lisbon withdrew from the existing agreement or if the communities cannot reach an agreement on a new operating contract.
The proposed new agreement is expected to include a new formula that determines how much each community pays for library operation and outlines a plan for dissolving the agreement in the event one of the communities wants to withdraw from the agreement.
The new formula will be based on the size of each community's tax base, population and use of the library.
"I think the process we have used has a resulted in a win-win for both communities. Ryan Lippert (Town of Lisbon supervisor) and Tim Dietrich (Village trustee) have worked very hard on an agreement and I am optimistic it will be approved," said Library Board Chairman Emil Glodowski.
Lippert and Dietrich were appointed in 2011 by Village President Greg Goetz and Town Board Chairman Matt Gehrke to negotiate a new library operations agreement with the assistance of Glodowski and the library staff.
Lippert and Dietrich are members of the library board and recently expressed confidence that the agreement, which has yet to be made public, would be approved by the governing bodies.
Lippert and Dietrich declined to discuss specifics of the agreement until it is presented to the Town of Lisbon.
"It is a negotiated agreement where the Town of Lisbon gave up some things and the Village of Sussex gave up some things, but both the town and village will gain with this agreement," according to Dietrich..
Lippert said he is confident that a majority of the Town Board would approve the agreement even if it is opposed by Town Chairman Matt Gehrke.
It was Gehrke who succeeded in forcing the negotiations between the two communities by saying he would not support a new library agreement between the communities unless there was a change in the formula that determines how much each community pays for library operations.
Gehrke has asserted that Sussex taxpayers should pay more for the library than Lisbon taxpayers because Sussex residents, according to library circulation figures, use the library more than Lisbon residents.
The existing formula is based on the size of the tax bases for each community which in recent years has been about a billion dollars for each community.
In 2012, the Village of Sussex is expected to pay about $560,000 in library operations compared to about $528,000 for the Town of Lisbon. Sussex was also expected to contribute another $106,000 to help pay off the debt on building construction and Lisbon was expected to pay about $101,000 in debt service on the building.
After the building debt has been paid which is expected to occur in 2014, the agreement reverts to a year-to-year contract with each community having the option to end the contract with as little as 90 days notice.
Library officials have said they need a longer-term contract that will enable them to engage in long-range planning rather than trying to operate with the uncertainty of a year-to-year contract with a short-term termination clause.
Smith has said that if an agreement is not reached by the communities, the Village Board could in the future use for library operating expenses the approximately $100,000 presently spent on debt service.
Fischer resigns from Lisbon Town Board
Lisbon Supervisor Dan Fischer announced his resignation to Town Board Monday citing medical reasons.
In an email to Lisbon Town Chairman Matt Gehrke and Administrator Jeff Musche, Fischer said his resignation will be effective Aug. 28, the date of the next Town Board meeting.
"... due to a family medical issue that will not allow me adequate time to sufficiently serve the needs of the town," wrote Fischer of the reason behind his resignation.
Fischer ran unopposed for another term this spring. He has served as the Town Board liaison between the park department, town engineer, town inspector and plan commission.
"It has been a pleasure serving the residents of Lisbon and working with my fellow board and committee members. The department heads and staff of Lisbon are a committed and hard-working group and I thank them for all the help and guidance they have given me over the last number of years," Fischer said in the email.
Lisbon-Sussex library agreement in jeopardy
Town of Lisbon - The adoption of a joint agreement between the Town of Lisbon and the Village of Sussex that would provide nearly a million dollars a year in future operating revenues for the Pauline Haass Library appears to be in jeopardy.
The Town Board tonight offered a counter proposal that provides a more favorable funding formula for the town rather than accepting a proposal drafted by a negotiating committee made up of representatives from the town, village and library board.
The Village Board was scheduled to consider during a Tuesday night meeting the proposal offered by the negotiating committee.
However, Village Trustee Tim Dietrich, who was a member of the negotiating committee, said tonight he will recommend the Village Board table the matter for further study.
"Tonight I am angry, by tommorrow I may be more rational," Dietrich said after being told of the Lisbon Town Board's action.
"Why should the village trustees approve something that is going to cost them $80,000 over the next two years and they get nothing in return for it," he added.
However, Lisbon Town Chairman Matt Gehrke, suggested if the village did not adopt the town's counter proposal, the library could lose more than $250,000 year in revenue from the town.
Gehrke said if the town and village did not reach an agreement "in the coming months" a proposal to terminate the existing agreement between the two communities would be placed on the town's February 2013 agenda.
However, Village officials say they have been preparing contigency plans to take over library operations after the existing agreement expires in 2014 if the two communities cannot agree on a new contract.
In both proposals, the town would annually contribute about $425,000 to the library while the village paid about $500,000 annually during the initial two years of the agreement, 2013 and 2014.
However, according to the town's counter proposal, the towns payments beginning 2015 would drop to about $250,000 a year.
The amount is equivalent to how much Waukesha County would collect annually in a county wide library tax from town residents.
Town residents presently do not pay the tax because Lisbon and Sussex share in the operating and capital costs of the library which is located in Sussex.
The town's contribution to the library would increase if the town was incorporated into a village, according to the counter proposal.
The negotiating committee plan would establish each community's annual share of the operating costs on a formula based on each community's library usage, population, and tax base.
Under the existing agreement, Lisbon pay about $450,000 while Sussex pays $480,000. The amount of the payments are based on the size of the communities tax bases.
Haass library controversy grows
Village of Sussex - The Pauline Haass Library Board voted 5 to 2 Wednesday night to hire an attorney to begin the process of attempting to take over about 60 acres of land deeded to the Town of Lisbon for library purposes by the late Pauline Haass more than 50 years ago.
The board was warned by one of its trustees, Robert Williams, a former town supervisor, that the action could lead to hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal expenses for the library and interfere with on going negotiations between the Village of Sussex and Town of Lisbon over how much money the two communities will contribute to library operations.
Williams pointed out that town officials believe they have sole jurisdiction over the land despite a state law that says all land intended for library purposes should be owned and controlled by library boards.
He recalled how town officials, several years ago, broke off negotiations with the village over a cost sharing contract because library officials had threatened to go to court in an effort to take control of the land.
However, a majority of the board members argued they had a legal and financial obligation to attempt to take "ownership and control" of the land because cost sharing negotiations between the village and town have failed to produce a new agreement. Most of the library's approximately $1.1 million operating budget is paid for by contributions from the two municipalities.
Library Director Kathy Klager said Town Chairman Matt Gehrke has twice threatened to have an existing cost sharing contract terminated unless the Village of Sussex agreed to increase its share of the library costs.
However, two town board members at the meeting said later they believed negotiations between the town and village would continue.
"This sure doesn't help matters," added Supervisor Ryan Lippert, also a library board member, who joined with Williams in voting against the legal action.
PH Library Board seeks Lisbon land
Funding controversy widens; fate of Pauline Haass Library uncertain
New kink in Pauline Haass library talks | Funding controversy widens; fate of Pauline Haass Library uncertain
Village of Sussex - The fate of the Pauline Haass Library is uncertain after an often intense and sometimes contentious nearly 3 ½ -hour meeting of the Library Board last week.
The board voted 5-2 to hire an attorney in an attempt to take over about 60 acres of land at Lake Five and Hickory roads that was donated to the Town of Lisbon for library purposes by the late Pauline Haass more than 50 years ago.
A majority of the board argued it was their legal and fiscal responsibility to gain "ownership and control" over the land since Sussex and Lisbon have failed to reach a new agreement on sharing the funding for library operations.
The two communities share most of the costs of the library's approximately $1.2 million budget. The village contributes about $480,000; the town pays about $450,000. The contributions are based on the size of each community's tax base.
Library Director Kathy Klager told the Library Board that Town Chairman Matt Gehrke has twice threatened to seek termination of the existing funding agreement unless there is a new funding formula that requires Sussex to pay a larger share of the operating expenses.
Klager said state law requires that any land donated for library purposes must be "owned and controlled" by library boards.
Town officials have asserted they have sole jurisdiction over the land deeded to the town by the Haass estate.
Library Trustee Robert Williams, a former town supervisor, warned his fellow Library Board members that their actions could result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills for the library and jeopardize the cost-sharing negotiations between Lisbon and Sussex.
Much of the meeting was spent by the trustees editing a seven-page "face sheet" prepared by Klager that is intended to convince residents of the two communities they should pressure the municipal boards into reaching a new funding agreement.
But Williams warned that if the Library Board tried to take possession of the Haass property, the Town Board might withdraw from the negotiations.
"If you do this," he said, "You wouldn't need that letter."
Town Supervisors Joe Osterman and Ryan Lippert, who attended the meeting, said the town would continue negotiating with the village but the Library Board's action "certainly doesn't make it easier" for an agreement to be reached.
"I am very, very disappointed in the Library Board's actions," said Town Chairman Matt Gehrke the day after the meeting.
"The Library Board's decision drives a further wedge between the town and village and the Library Board and the Town Board," Gehrke added.
During the meeting, Village President Greg Goetz assured Library Board members that the Village Board was prepared to "fully fund" the library at "present levels of service" if the negotiations failed and the town pulled out of the funding agreement.
But Village Trustee Tim Dietrich, also a Library Board member, challenged Goetz.
Dietrich said Goetz did not have the authority to make such a promise without approval from the Village Board, and whether the village could afford to fully fund library operations would depend on economic conditions and other village budgetary needs.
Goetz is angry at the Town Board for its refusal to consider a proposed new funding agreement that was crafted by a committee of library, town and village representatives that spent 14 months in negotiations. Under that proposal, the town would continue to pay about $425,000 while the village share of the costs would increase to $500,000.
Lippert, who is also a Library Board member, supported the original proposal as a member of the negotiating committee but later rejected it in favor a counterproposal crafted by Gherke that would reduce the town's annual payments to $250,000 after 2015.
"It would not be so bad if the town had at least voted on the (committee's) proposal," Goetz declared.
"But Matt Gehrke just set it aside and said here is the only plan (the counterproposal) the Town Board is going to consider. I do not understand how Ryan Lippert could sit there for 14 months and support the committee's plan and then turn around on the Town Board and vote to support the other plan," Goetz added.
Klager pressed Lippert for an explanation.
Lippert said "conditions changed" from the time negotiations began in the summer of 2011 until the Town Board meeting two weeks ago.
In a later interview, Lippert said the conditions that changed were the state's refusal to allow the town to become a village, an incorporation effort opposed by the Village of Sussex, and the overwhelming defeat of an advisory referendum seeking town voters' approval of an idea to consolidate the town and village.
"If the town could have been incorporated or the referendum would have been approved, we would not even be here tonight. This whole thing would have been moot," he said.
Could incorporation be tied to library funding?
A Village of Lisbon could afford to contribute more to the Pauline Haass Public Library than a Town of Lisbon could, according to Town Chairman Matt Gehrke.
Read more on Gehrke's take on things in Tuesday's Lake Country Reporter.
Sussex begins considering library take over
Village of Sussex - Village trustees tonight appointed a committee that will advise the Village Board on how to take control of the Pauline Haass Library, if necessary.
Town of Lisbon officials have indicated they might not renew in 2014 a joint agreement with the village that provides the two municipalities share in the cost of the library.
Village President Greg Goetz reiterated before tonight's Village Board meeting that the village is prepared to assume responsibility for the operations of the library if the town pulls out of the agreement.
Goetz said the number of key village officials assigned to the committee is in an indication of the importance of the group.
"I think this committee is important because it is going insure a quality library in the future for all of the residents of the village," he said.
Committee members include Goetz, Village Trustee Tim Dietrich and Library Board member Charlotte Coe.
Village Administrator Jeremy Smith and Library Director kathy Klager will serve as committee staff.
Village residents Sandy Schutz and Roger Johnson, who has served several terms on the Village Board and Plan Commission, will also serve on the committee.
Lisbon Chairman Matt Gehrke said last summer the Town Board might decide in February of this year whether to continue the agreement if negotiations between the two communities fail.
However, Gehrke said last week he may postpone the decision until after the April municipal elections when two vacancies on the Town Board will be filled. Gehrke said he has reservations about making the decision with only three members serving on the five member board.
Negotiations reached an impasse last year after Gehrke rejected a negotiating committee proposal because he did not feel it required the village to pay a large enough share of the library budget..
Gehrke has argued that most of the library cost should be assumed by the village since village residents use the library more than town residents. Library costs are presently divided by the two communities based on their tax bases which are about equal in size.
Sussex-Lisbon library agreement ending?
Village of Sussex - Two top village officials indicated tonight they are anticipating that a 25 year long library funding agreement between the village and Town of Lisbon will end after 2014.
Village President Greg Goetz tonight presided over the first meeting of a Library Continuation Committee appointed by the Village Board to make recommendations on how the village should take over the Pauline Haas Library if the funding agreement with the town is ended.
"The idea is how to make the library continue operations without the Town of Lisbon after 2014," Goetz explained to the committee..
Village Administrator Jeremy Smith said the Village Board is committed to maintaining library services at present levels if the town pulls out of the agreement.
He said one of the roles of the committee was to help determine whether that committment is realistic and, if it is, how to attain it.
Smith said village trustees regard the library as an asset in maintaining the quality of life and economic well being of the community.
The village and town have been at an impasse since last summer at reaching a new funding agreement for the library. Town Chairman Matt Gehrke has been insisting the village pay a greater share of the nearly one million dollars in annual library costs than the town because village residents use the library more than town residents.
Gehrke rejected a negotiating committee proposal that increased Sussex's share of the library costs.
Meanwhile, a battle between the Town Board and the Library Board over 63 acres of farm land donated to the town by Pauline Haass has escalated.
The Town Board voted last week tor rescind the appointment of town resident Emil Glodoski to the board. The Town Board appoints three representatives to the board, Glodoski served as president of the board.
Gherke said the board rescinded Glodoski's appointment because he voted twice last year to approve the Library Board filing a law suit against the town over ownership of the land.
Gehrke said the vote was not in the best interest of the town taxpayers.
Library Director Kathy Klager said Glodoski has a legal obligation to represent the best interests of the library board. Klager said the board has been advised by its attorneys that it should seek ownership and control of the land.
Town rescinds library president appointment
Village begins library takeover study
Town of Lisbon - A high-powered committee has begun reviewing how the Village of Sussex will take over the Pauline Haass Library in 2015 while a battle between the Library Board and the Town of Lisbon escalated last week.
"The idea is how to make the library continue operations without the Town of Lisbon after 2014," Village President Greg Goetz said Thursday, Jan. 31, at the first meeting of the Library Continuation Committee.
The committee was appointed by the Village Board to develop recommendations for continuing the library if the joint funding agreement with Lisbon expires in 2014.
Negotiations between the town and village have been at an impasse since last summer. Town Chairman Matt Gehrke has insisted that Sussex pay a bigger share of the library's operating cost since Sussex residents use library services more often than town residents.
Gehrke rejected a proposal by a negotiation committee to increase the village's share of the cost.
Gehrke said last week that the Town Board would vote later this year to continue the agreement until 2014 but probably not in 2015.
Village officials have emphasized they are not yet part of a battle between the library and Town Board over 63 acres in the town donated by the Pauline Haass estate.
The Town Board voted on Monday, Jan. 24, to rescind Library Board President Emil Glodoski's appointment to the Library Board.
Glodoski was one of three town residents appointed to the Library Board by the Town Board. He also served as president of the Library Board.
Gehrke said Glodoski was stripped of his membership on the Library Board because he twice voted to approve the Library Board filing a lawsuit in an attempt to take control of the Haass farmland.
Library Director Kathy Klager said state law permits town governments to rescind appointments to boards and commissions.
Klager defended Glodoski's votes, saying that state law required him to place the interests of the library before the interests of town residents.
Klager urged the Library Board to file the lawsuit after Gehrke had indicated twice last year that the Town Board may decide not to renew a joint library funding agreement.
Klager said it was necessary for the Library Board to file the lawsuit because state law requires that any lands donated for library purposes be owned and controlled by library boards.
For years, town officials have argued that the Haass will clearly stipulates the land is being donated to the town for the town's use for library purposes, and the land was donated before the state law.
Some town officials have said privately that the Library Board's decision to file the lawsuit might have been the coup de grace for the 25-year-old agreement that provides the two communities share capital and operating expenses of the library.
Haass library board action defended
Town of Lisbon - Emil Glodoski, former president of the Pauline Haass Library Board, tonight appeared at a town board meeting to defend the library board's plans to sue the Town Board for control of land donated to the town by the late Pauline Haass.
"It is a legal question that has to be resolved," Glodoski told the Town Board.
Glodowski said legal action was necessary because Town Chairman Matt Gehrke has said there is a possibility the town might not extend beyond 2014 a joint library funding agreement with the Village of Sussex.
The town and village jointly fund library operating and building expenses. A portion of the town's share of the cost is paid for by rent the town collects on the farm land.
Town officials have contended for years they have exclusive control over the land. Some town officials are unhappy the town will have to help pay for the legal expenses.
The Library Board has filed a Notice of Claim for the land because it was donated to the town "for library purposes."
Gehrke has said the town will reject the claim which means the library board must either file a law suit or drop the claim.
The Lisbon board last month voted to rescind Glodski's appointment to the Library Board. He was one of three representatives appointed to represent the town on the library board.
Gehrke said Glodoski did not vote in the best interests of the town when he supported the legal action.
Library Director Kathy Klager defended Glodoski saying he and the library board had a legal obligation to seek control of Haass land because according to state law the land should be under the control of the library board.
Ironically, Glodoski was replaced as board president by another Lisbon resident, Robert Williams, a former town supervisor, who served as Library Board vice president and vehemently opposed the legal action.
New Library Board member appointed
Town of Lisbon - The Town Board appointed a successor for Emil Glodoski, former president of the Pauline Haass Library Board, on Feb. 12, shortly after Glodowski appeared at the meeting defending the Library Board's decision to seek legal action against the town.
Barbara Barnes is the new member of the Library Board.
Glodoski told the Town Board that a Notice of Claim filed by the Library Board against the Town Board was necessary to resolve a longstanding legal question over whether the town or the library should control 63 acres donated to the town for library purposes by the late Pauline Haass.
Last month, the Town Board voted to rescind Glodoski's appointment to the Library Board because, according to Town Chairman Matt Gehrke, Glodowski had not acted in the best interests of the town.
Glodoski was one of three members appointed to the Library Board by the Town Board. The other two appointees, Supervisor Ryan Lippert and former Supervisor Robert Williams, voted against the Library Board seeking the legal action.
Gehrke recommended Barnes be appointed to replace Glodoski because he said she had shown an interest in the library by seeking a Library Board appointment in 2010.
"At that time, we had members in position that I was comfortable with," Gehrke explained.
He added that Barnes "understands our positions and the stands we (the Town Board) have taken in regards to the library."
"I am a nurse practitioner. I work full time. I am not involved in politics, but I love the library," Barnes said an interview after the board meeting.
Glodoski told the Town Board that the legal action was necessary because Gehrke has warned that the town may not extend beyond 2014 a joint funding agreement with the Village of Sussex.
Gehrke has said the town will not agree to a new funding formula unless the Village of Sussex is willing to pay a larger share of the library's expenses, since Sussex residents use the library more than Lisbon residents.
A negotiating committee spent 14 months working on agreement that increase Sussex's share of the library expenses, but Gehrke rejected the proposal.
Lisbon was in line to inherit more than Haass land
by Fred H. Keller
Posted, Living Sussex Sun, March 12, 2013
Ruth Craine Lembke retired on a 76-acre Lisbon farm she and her husband inherited through the Buck Family. Lembke in 1996 had planned to will the land to Lisbon to use for a park. However, she rescinded her will at age 95 because she felt Lisbon had not followed the will of her friend, Pauline Haass, the way Haass had originally wanted when she gave her land to use for the benefit of a community library.
The ongoing dispute between Lisbon and Sussex over funding the Pauline Haass Library has hit a sore spot in the last decade escalating to Lisbon threatening to no longer take part in the joint agreement. There is a side story to this disagreement and how Lisbon was in line to gain 76 acres from resident Ruth Lembke (1910-2006).
Born Ruth Craine on May 13, 1910, she was raised in Milwaukee and Wauwatosa, but she was related to the Charles Bixley Buck family of Lisbon, Templeton and Sussex. Her ancestry was from the Isle of Man, a small island between Ireland and England. The Buck-Braine family came to Lisbon in the 1840s. In 1864 Charles and his wife, Margaret Blackburn, paid $3,000 for a 70-acre farm that today is bisected by the Wisconsin Central Railroad and Waukesha Avenue. Today part of the land is occupied by Quad/Graphics.
Charles Bixley Buck served as Lisbon town chairman in 1878 and his son, C.B. Buck was town chairman from 1900-02 and again from 1903-04. Meanwhile the Buck family sold the remainder of the Buck farm for $5,000 in 1896.
Now C.B. Buck built a house next to the Sussex Creek which today is just west of Associated Bank. C.B. lived there and so did his father in retirement. They both died in 1916. The home became a habit of relatives, the Craine family, including Ruth, who would visit the Bucks.
Eventually Ruth, a school teacher in Wauwatosa, would marry Lisbon farmer and Milwaukee-employed Emil Lembke who inherited the Lembke 76-acre farm in Lisbon. Upon retirement, Ruth and her husband retired to the Lisbon farm. This farm was south of Richmond Road, west of Sussex Corporate Center and Highway 164.
She loved the rural atmosphere and would adopt cats that found a home on the Lisbon farm. After Emil died, Ruth became very involved in the community as she served on the Sussex Food Pantry committee. Meanwhile her friend, Pauline "Polly" Haass, a kindred spirit who was also a school teacher had willed her land in Lisbon in 1966 with some instructions on how it was to be used. The will resulted in the shared Sussex-Lisbon library in 1988.
Ruth saw that there was success in the Haass library and she joined the Friends of the Pauline Haass Library and became very involved. She drew up her own will in 1996 where she was to give the Town of Lisbon her farm upon her death. The farmland would be developed into a park. She was proud of her decision but became apprehensive 10 years later when she saw that Lisbon had not turned over the Haass land to the library. She also voiced apprehension that one particular Lisbon trustee had made a remark along the lines of "when she dies we can do what we want with the land."
About 32 days before Ruth died, she changed her will cutting Lisbon out. Today, the 76 acres is almost the same as it was in 2006 with the Meissner family renting the land to farm corn and soy beans.
Lisbon urged to resume Pauline Haass Library talks with Sussex
Library could be hurt by impasse says former chairman
Town of Lisbon - Town resident Emil Glodoski, former chairman of the Pauline Haass Library Board, urged the Town Board Monday to resume negotiations with the Village of Sussex over a long-term, joint funding agreement for the library.
Negotiations between the town and village have been at an impasse for nearly six months.
Glodoski was a member of a negotiations committee of village and town representatives who worked for 14 months on an agreement that was accepted by the village but rejected by the town.
The existing long-term agreement will expire at the end of 2014 and revert to a year-to-year agreement that could be dissolved by either community.
Village officials are planning for the possibility that they will take over library operations if the town decides to dissolve the agreement.
Glodoski noted that the town annually contributes more than $300,000 a year and suggested Lisbon residents are as invested in the library and residents of the Village of Sussex.
"I hate to see the damage that this may do to our library if this is not resolved within the next 17 to 18 months," he told the Town Board at its meeting Monday night.
He described how the committee worked during 10, hour-and-a-half to two-hour long meetings reviewing municipal and library budget data, circulation figures, and how otherjointly owned municipal libraries funded their facilities.
"We had graphs, charts, seven color graphics. We looked at several different alternatives and no body was entirely happy with what we came up with. Ryan (Supervisor Ryan Lippert, a member of the negotiations committee) wasn't jumping for joy and the Village of Sussex wasn't happy they would have to pay more," he concluded.
"I know Sussex has accepted the proposal, when will the town do something?" he asked.
"Where is this going?" he asked about the negotiations.
Town officials said they would like to negotiate a counter proposal with the village. Village officials say they are not interested in the town's counter proposal.
The town's counter proposal caps its annual payment to the library beginning in 2015 at about $250,000 to $280,000 as long as Lisbon remains a town.
If the town were to become a village, its share of the cost would be based on tax base, library usage, and population with a ceiling on how much the contribution could be raised annually.
The town presently pays about $430,000 a year for its share of the operations costs of the library while the village pays about $455,000. The amount of the payments are based on each municipality's tax base.
The new formula proposed by the negotiating committee and approved by the village would base the payments on each community's tax base, population and library usage.
Town Chairman Matt Gehrke has insisted that the village pay more for library operations than the town because village residents use the library more than town residents.
The town government could save about $430,000 annually by ending the agreement. Town residents would be required to pay a Waukesha County Library tax that for some residents,according to town officials that would about to about $60 a year.
However, Town Administrator Jeff Musche estimates the annual library funding agreement may cost the same taxpayer about $100 a year.
The fate of any future agreement may rest in the hands of town voters in the April 2 municipal elections.
Two candidates for town supervisor, Hannah Heinritz and Steve Panten, have said they would be willing to end the library agreement.
Two other candidates, former Supervisor Wendy Landry and former Treasurer Rebecca Plotecher, have said they want the library negotiations to resume.
If Landry and Plotecher were elected, it might prompt the Town Board to attempt to resume negotiations.
However, if Heinritz and Panten were elected it could possibly doom further talks since it would mean a large majority, if not all, of the five-member board would be willing to end the negotiations.
"The April 2 election could be a referendum on the library," observed Supervisor Joe Osterman, who is unopposed in his bid for reelection.
Osterman said he is not inclined to resume talks with the village until the Library Board agrees to drop its threatened lawsuit against the town over land that the late Pauline Haass donated to the town to be used for library purposes.
The Library Board is threatening legal action against the Town Board because the Library Board believes it should "own and control" the land.
The Town Board rescinded Glodoski's membership on the Library Board, thus stripping him of his chairmanship title, because he supported the legal action against the town. Glodoski was one of two Lisbon representatives appointed to the Library Board by the Town Board.
will discuss library
Town of Lisbon
- The future of a
Pauline Haass Library cost
sharing agreement between the
Town of Lisbon and the Village
of Sussex will be discussed at
the Monday, April 22 meeting of
the Town Board, according to
Town Chairman Matt Gehrke.
Negotiations between the town
and village over a future long
term funding agreement for the
library have been at an impasse
for the more than six months.
Lisbon officials are insisting
that the village pay a larger
share of the library operating
cost since village residents
used the library more than town
Gehrke said last year that he
wanted the Town Board to
consider possibly terminating
the long term agreement which
expires in 2014 and converts to
a yearly agreement. However,
Gehrke decided to post pone the
discussions until after the
April 2 municipal election.
Two veteran town officials -
former Supervisor Wendy Landry
and former Treasurer Rebecca
Plotecher - both advocated
continuing the library agreement
in their respective campaigns
for town supervisor positions.
Both candidates were defeated.
Newly elected Supervisor
Hannah Heinritz campaigned in
support of terminating the
agreement. Another newly elected
supervisor, Steve Panten, said
he hoped the agreement could be
continued but also pointed out
that the town could save money
by eliminating the annual
The town annually pays about
$430,000 to the library while
the village pays about $450,000,
The payments are based on the
size of the tax base of each
Village of Sussex — Elected officials in the Village of Sussex and the Town of Lisbon have decided to resume negotiations over a long-term agreement that would define how the two communities would continue sharing most of the operating cost of the Pauline Haass Library.
Village trustees decided during a closed meeting last week to accept the Town of Lisbon's offer to resume the talks that have been stalled for more than six months. Town Chairman Matt Gehrke sent a letter to the village last month indicating town supervisors "would welcome" an opportunity to resume negotiations.
Village Administrator Jeremy Smith and Town Clerk/Administrator Jeff Musche will be working this week to identify mutually acceptable dates where one representative from the town and one representatives from the village could meet with representatives of the Library Board and staff, according to Village Trustee Tim Dietrich, who is also a member of the Library Board.
The existing agreement will expire in 2014. Beginning in 2015, the agreement converts to a year-to-year contract that either community can cancel within the year. Library Board members and staff have said a longer-term agreement is necessary in order to facilitate future capital and operational planning of the library.
Gehrke has insisted that the Village of Sussex pay a larger share of the library cost because village residents use library facilities more than town residents. Gehrke and the Town Board rejected a compromise proposal that was presented by a negotiation committee after 14 months of closed-door negotiations and offered a counter proposal.
The town is contributing about $355,000 and the Village of Sussex provides about $350,000 to the $1.1 million 2013 library budget.
During the past week, elected officials in both communities, as well as Library Board members, and Library Director Kathy Klager, emphasized they want a new funding agreement. However, Sussex officials have indicated they are prepared to "fully fund" the library without Lisbon's participation.
"We would prefer that the Town of Lisbon continue to participate with the Village of Sussex in sharing the cost of the Pauline Haass Library. The Town of Lisbon's participation in the library is good for the Town of Lisbon, it is good for the Village of Sussex and it is good for the library," said Sussex Village President Greg Goetz.
Gehrke has pointed out that town and village representatives agree on almost every provision of a proposed new agreement except the funding formula. He said repeatedly that he remains optimistic an funding agreement can be reached.
Library Board member, John Roubik, a Menomonee Falls resident appointed to represent the Hamilton School District, said last week "as a neutral observer" he believed residents of the school district would be better served by a jointly owned library and urged elected officials in Lisbon and Sussex to stop using the library as a "pawn."
"This is all tied to issues between the town and village. The library is being used as a media pawn. It is a sad thing," added Library Board Chairman Robert Williams, a former town supervisor.
However, the Library Board is planning to a hold a closed session next month to discuss continuing its legal action against the Town of Lisbon in an effort to gain "custody and control" of farm land donated by the late Pauline Haass to the town to be used for library purposes.
The board voted 5 to 2 to hold the closed session at its meeting on June 19 despite Library Director Kathy Klager warming them that the board's attorney advised her that a closed session is unnecessary and does not qualify for an exemption to the state law that requires most meetings of public bodies be held in open, public session.
Williams, however, said the closed session is necessary because Town of Lisbon representatives on the Library Board have a "conflict of interest." Other Library Board members suggested the closed session would allow the Lisbon representatives to speak more candidly than in an open session.
Gehrke told Lake Country Publications last week that he anticipates the three Lisbon representatives on the Library Board would vote against continuing the legal action against the town. Town officials argue that it was Haass's intent that the town would control the land.
With the Town Board's unanimous support, Gehrke earlier this year rescinded the appointment of Emil Glodoski as a town representative on the Library Board. Glodoski also served as as Library Board Chairman and voted in favor of the Library Board seeking legal action against the town over the Haass land.
Gehrke said Glodoski's vote was not in the best interest of the town which Glodoski was supposed to represent on the board. Glodoski said it was his responsibility to represent the best interests of the library.
The Pauline Haass Public Library (PHPL) will host its twentieth annual Ice Cream Social on the grounds of the library from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7. The event will once again be a fundraiser for the library with sponsorship by Fairways of Woodside Golf Course. Under tents set up on the front lawn, PHPL staff and community volunteers will serve ice cream with chocolate syrup, brownies and cups of soda for 25 cents each. The Friends of the Library will offer a used book sale in the Quad/Graphics Room in the Library, with most items 25 to 50 cents each.
In Weyer Park, adjacent to the library, the library's Just Teens will provide games, face painting and other activities for children.
"We're excited and very grateful to have the sponsorship of Fairways of Woodside as the Ice Cream Social tradition enters its 20th year," says Kathy Klager, library director. "Once again, we're partnering with the fire and police services to celebrate National Night Out in conjunction with the Ice Cream Social, bringing even more activities for families."
Klager says that the staff look forward to the event as much as community members do. "Our mission is to connect people with information, ideas and one another," Klager states. "With old fashioned prices, picnic tables, music, gardens in bloom and families socializing with their neighbors, this continues to be a wonderful way of making those connections."
Haass Library budget stalled
Town of Lisbon - Town officials say a proposed 2014 budget for the Pauline Haass Library will not be approved by the Town Board unless an agreement can be reached with the Library Board on the disposition of farm land that the widow Haass donated to the town for library purposes.
Town Supervisor Ryan Lippert said representatives of the the town and Village of Sussex who are trying to negotiate a long term funding agreement for the library had agreed the 2014 municipal contribution to the library would total about $875,000, not the $894,000 included in the $1.2 million budget library officials presented tonight.
Furthermore, Town Chairman Matt Gehrke said there will be no budget approved by the town for the Library until an agreement is reached on the land. The library board has threatened to file a law suit against the town seeking custody of the land.
Gehrke added "there is a zero percent chance" that the Town Board would approve the $894,372 municipal contribution proposed in the budget. The town would pay about $426,000 of the contribution and the village would pay abour $468,000, according to the proposed budget.
The two municipalities are obligated to provide the library in 2014 at least the $884,600 they contributed in 2013 if the town board refused to adopt the 2014 budget, according to an agreement between the town and village.
The library would also continue to receive real estate tax revenues from Waukesha County paid by residents of other communities who do not have library services and use the Pauline Haass library, according to Library Director Kathy Klager.
Negotiations between the town and village over a new long term funding agreement have stalled because the dispute over the approximately 60 acres of Haass farm land has not been resolved.
Village of Sussex — The Library Board has tentatively scheduled a meeting next week, Oct. 2, to discuss the latest proposal it has received from the Town of Lisbon regarding the disposition of about 60 acres of land donated by the late Pauline Haass to the town for library purposes.
Library Director Kathy Klager said the board may also discuss whether to proceed with legal action against the town. The Library Board believes state law requires the Haass land be in the "custody and control" of the library. Town officials believe they should continue to have control of the land since it was bequeathed to the town.
It appears the two sides are in agreement that the land should be sold and the proceeds from the sale would be donated to the library by the town. The Village of Sussex would the match the town's donation to the library.
However, they disagree on the timing. The Town Board wants to sell the land and turn over the proceeds whenever library officials decide they need the money to expand the existing library building, or sometime after 2023 if there is no decision to expand the library.
Library officials want the town to make a contribution now based on the estimated value of the land, and then the town can sell the land at a later date and keep the proceeds from the sale.
Town Chairman Matt Gehrke has said that until there is an agreement reached on the Haass land, the Town Board will not pay its share of a $1.1 million 2014 budget proposed last week by the library board.
The Village of Sussex approved the budget during a meeting of the three governing boards on Tuesday, Sept. 17. However, the Town Board took no action.
According to an agreement between the two municipalities, the library can continue to operate next year on the 2013 budget if a 2014 budget is not approved by both the town and village.
Gehrke said last week "there is a zero percent chance" that the Town Board would approve the $894,372 in contributions from the town and village proposed in the 2014 budget, regardless of whether there is an agreement on the Haass land.
Sussex would pay $468,045 and Lisbon would pay $426,326, according to the budget proposal.
Supervisor Ryan Lippert said negotiators representing the town and village had agreed that next year's municipal contribution to the library would be $875,000, not the the $894,000 proposed by the Library. Lippert, who is also a Library Board member, is one of the negotiators trying to hammer out a longterm library funding agreement between the town and village.
However, Village Trustee Tim Dietrich, also a Library Board member and one of the negotiators, said the Library Board budget proposal and the ongoing negotiations should be considered separately.
One town supervisor not likely to vote for a long term agreement is Steve Panten.
"Have you seen the size of the library payroll?" he asked a reporter. "More than $700,000 for five full-time employees. You expect the residents of the Town of Lisbon to pay that?" he asked.
Klager defended the budget, pointing out that the library has about 15 full-time equivalent positions, most of which are filled by various part-time employees. She said a $14,812, or about 38 percent, increase in health and dental insurance benefits was necessary because of anticipated costs increases caused by the Affordable Care Act and additional coverage provided to two staff members who had previously been included in their spouse's company insurance.
She said the employees will receive an average across the board increase of 3-percent which is necessary in order to keep the library competitive in the job market. She said Pauline Haass Library staff levels are comparable, in some cases lower, than other Lake Country libraries.
Overall, salary and benefits are proposed at $739, 597, a 5-percent increase over 2013.
New law won't affect library, for now
A new state law may change the way joint libraries are funded. So far, the measure won't affect the Sussex-Lisbon joint library agreement.
On Sept. 17, Pewaukee Library Director Jennie Stoltz asked the Pewaukee Village Board to sign off on some housekeeping items and explained to the board that new state rules that apply to funding levels for joint libraries affects Pewaukee, in particular.
In general, state law allows communities with joint libraries to avoid paying the county library tax since they are already funding a municipal library. A community with a joint library must levy an amount equivalent to the amount set by the county in the previous year.
But the biennial state budget (enacted June 30) includes new directions. ). There is now a second method that municipalities with joint libraries may use when calculating the funding level necessary to gain exemption from paying the county library levy.
Rather than levying the amount equivalent to the amount set the preceding year, joint libraries may now set a new minimum by averaging their funding levels from the previous three years.
Paul Nelson, chairman of the Wisconsin Library Association's legislative committee, said the new rules were slipped into the budget bill at the last minute.
"We would have preferred that separate legislation be introduced, given a public hearing in front of the appropriate committees, and its merits debated in the Assembly and Senate," Nelson said.
Pauline Haass Library Director Kathy Klager said the measure won't affect the Sussex-Lisbon joint library "at the moment" because her community is not as property-rich as Pewaukee is. Nonetheless, Klager said she wants to see the rules amended in the future. "I don't understand why joint libraries should be treated any differently," she said.
"Effectively, it is allowing for an opportunity for one library — one joint library — to be funded below the county minimum," Klager explained.
That's the case in Pewaukee. The minimum funding levels using the old formula (based on the previous year's county library levy) would yield a minimum of $248,840 from the Village of Pewaukee and $702,106 from the City of Pewaukee.
The new method, which is the average of the past three years, would yield a minimum of only $233,667 from Village of Pewaukee and $665,430 from the City of Pewaukee.
"Because the two Pewaukees stay right at the minimum of the lowest funding rate possible, the best option (for officials) is for you to go with the new method," Stoltz explained. That's $51,849 less than they were banking on, because the minimum was set using the new formula, and Pewaukee will continue county tax exemption.
It remains to be seen whether the Pewaukee Public Library Board will present a budget that goes above the newly set minimum. Stoltz said one thing is certain, though: "We will do our best to maintain the same level of services the community wants and needs," she said.
Kathy Klager, Pauline Haass Library director, and Lisbon Town Chairman Matt Gehrke are repeating and clarifying their respective positions on key issues in the ongoing negotiations between town and library officials regarding both the proposed 2014 library budget and the prospects for a long-term funding agreement for the library between the town and Village of Sussex.
Gehrke repeated his position that the Town Board will not ratify a long-term library funding agreement with the Village of Sussex until the Library Board and Town Board have agreed on the disposition of about 60 acres of Pauline Haass land.
However, Gehrke said a Lake Country Publications report that the Town Board would not act on the library's proposed 2014 budget until an agreement was reached on the land was incorrect.
Gehrke said the town board will consider the library's proposed 2014 budget. However, he said the town board is likely to agree on a $423,529 contribution, which is what the town paid in 2013, rather than the $426,326 town contribution proposed in the 2014 budget.
One of the issues in the 2014 budget is the size of the library payroll, according to Town Supervisor Steven Panten, who has suggested the library board's payroll of more than $700,000 is for five full-time employees.
Klager said that is not correct. She noted that there are 15 full-time equivalent positions on the library staff. Five of those positions are filled by full-time, professional staff and the other 10 full-time positions are filled by 21 part-time employees.
"I wish he would have asked me or said something when the budget was presented to the town and village boards," Klager said.
Klager said there was a five percent increase in salary and benefits that include a 38 percent increase in health and dental insurance benefits because of the addition of two employees to health and dental coverage and anticipated cost increases resulting from the Affordable Care Act.
Lisbon sets conditions for library mediation
Town of Lisbon — The Town Board on Monday night unanimously — but reluctantly — agreed to enter into nonbinding mediation with the Pauline Haass Library Board in an effort to settle their dispute over control of about 65 acres of farmland at Hickory and Lake Five roads that Pauline Haass donated to the town to be used for library purposes.
However, the Town Board placed conditions on the mediation that the Library Board probably will not and cannot meet.
The Town Board wants the Village of Sussex to participate in the mediation since the village is likely to be required to match any funds the town contributes to the library as a part of any out-of-court settlement.
However, Sussex Village President Greg Goetz and Trustee Tim Dietrich, who is a member of the Library Board, have said Sussex will not participate in the mediation because the land dispute is between town and library officials, not the village. Any involvement by Sussex would require approval of the Village Board, which appears unlikely.
In addition, the Town Board refused to approve a "tolling agreement" that would enable the Library Board to extend from Oct. 21 to Nov. 30 the deadline for filing a lawsuit against the town in Waukesha County Circuit Court seeking control of the land.
Library officials have said they would file the lawsuit if the deadline was not extended because the mediation process is not likely to even begin in the time for the October deadline.
Library officials say state law states they have custody and control of any lands donated for library purposes. But town officials say Haass' will clearly indicated she wanted the town to determine how her land would be used for library purposes.
Library Board President Robert Williams, a former town supervisor who attended Monday night's Town Board meeting, said the Library Board would meet Wednesday, Oct. 16, to discuss the Town Board's decisions.
Also during Monday night's meeting, the Town Board voted to reject the Library Board's 2014 budget request of $894,372 in municipal contributions from Lisbon and Sussex for the library's $1.1 million budget. Instead, the town offered to approve municipal contributions totaling $884,600, of which the town would pay $421,668, or 47.6 percent.
Town Chairman Matt Gehrke said the budget proposed by the Library Board and accepted by the Village of Sussex was "in direct conflict" with a tentative agreement between negotiators for the town and village as part of long-term funding plan for the library.
According to the existing funding agreement, the town and village have until Nov. 15 to try to reconcile their differences on the 2014 budget. If they cannot reach agreement, the library must operate during 2014 on 2013 funding levels, including the $884,600 from the two communities.
There are now three major library issues subject to separate but interrelated negotiations. The talks over a long-term funding agreement have stalled because of the pending lawsuit over the Haass land. Both sides are negotiating possible mediation over the land issue. And they may attempt to negotiate a 2014 budget agreement before Nov. 15.
Issues with library director
To further complicate matters, town supervisors indicated during the meeting that they do not trust Library Director Kathy Klager.
"At the end of the day I have issues of trust with the library director and the board," Gehrke said.
Gehrke later explained that the town supervisors think Klager "orchestrated" the Haass land dispute.
Klager later responded that she had advised Library Board to take action in order to protect a library asset — the land — in the event the town decided to terminate the agreement, which Gehrke threatened to do on several occasions.
Supervisor Hannah Heinritz described the 2014 Library Board budget as "her" budget, referring to Klager, during an interview after the board meeting.
"I have looked at her budget. All of the decreases in her budget are for books and other resources. All of the increases are for salaries. I don't think that is very good prioritizing. Priorities are important in the Town of Lisbon. Why should the library be a higher priority that the Fire Department or any other town department?" Heinritz said.
"It is not my budget, it is the Library Board's budget and the board has a very good understanding of the operations of the library," Klager responded.
She added that the advances in electronic communications have placed greater challenges on libraries and library staffs in serving and communicating with library patrons.
Heinritz indicated she was willing to go along with mediation but she added, "I struggle with the whole aspect of mediation. It would be nice if it was helpful, but I am uncomfortable with the tolling agreement."
Supervisor Steve Patton said he, too, was willing to go along with mediation but not the tolling agreement. He said the Library Board waited until the last minute to seek mediation.
Supervisor Ryan Lippert, a member of the Library Board, urged his Town Board colleagues to adopt the tolling agreement. He said it would be a sign of good faith by the Town Board and might influence the Library Board not to seek legal action.
"While we feel Lisbon's position regarding this matter (the land dispute) has been clearly stated, we are open to different avenues of communication in hopes we can resolve this outstanding matter. However, the Lisbon Board does not appreciate the threat of a lawsuit and is unwilling to help facilitate the prolonged threat of this legal action by the Library Board," Gehrke said in a letter he handed to Williams after the board's vote.
Haass Library Board will sue Lisbon
The Pauline Haass Library Board may decide next month how much of the taxpayers' money it wants to spend on a legal battle with the Town of Lisbon over control of about 65 acres of farmland that Haass donated to the town to be used for library purposes.
A lawyer for the Library Board was scheduled to file suit against the town in Waukesha County Country Circuit Court by Monday, Oct. 21, after the Library Board and Town Board failed last week to agree on nonbinding mediation to resolve the dispute
While the town's legal costs will be covered by insurance, money from the library's budget will have to pay for the lawsuit, since it was initiatied by the Library Board.
More than $800,000 of the library's approximately $1 million annual budget is paid for with real tax tax revenues contributed to the library by the Town of Lisbon and Village of Sussex.
Library Director Kathy Klager said the board may discuss at its Nov. 20 meeting whether it wants to put a cap on the amount of money it is willing to spend in the legal battle, and, if so, what that cap would be.
Klager said she did not know what amount might be discussed at the meeting.
However, a Library Board budget committee once considered including $50,000 in legal fees in the 2014 budget. The committee decided not to include the money in the budget because of objections from Town Supervisor Ryan Lippert, who is also a Library Board member, according to Tim Dietrich, Library Board member and village trustee.
During last week's Library Board meeting, Lippert objected to the Library board paying $12,000 to attorney David Hase for his work in the legal battle.
Lippert argued that Hase's fee exceeded a cap established by the board.
However, in a later interview, Klager said board minutes indicate the cap applied to costs associated with research and work related to filing a legal notice of the lawsuit. She said Hase's bill includes costs related to the legal notice as well as other legal issues related to the dispute.
The Library Board met in a closed session for nearly an hour last week, Wednesday, Oct. 16, where Board President Robert Williams, a former town supervisor, reportedly tried to convince the Library Board members not to proceed with the lawsuit.
After the meeting, both Lippert and Dietrich agreed "nothing has changed" as a result of closed session, and the lawsuit would be filed Monday, Oct. 21.
Library officials argue that state law requires that any assets bequeathed to a library must be in the custody and control of a library board. Town officials insist that in her will Haass made it clear she wanted the Town Board to decide how the land should be used for library purposes.
Town officials have said they would be willing to sell the land and turn the proceeds over the library whenever Library Board members determine they need the money for expansion of library facilities. If the Library Board does not need the funds for expansion within the next 10 years, the town said it would sell the land after 2023.
The sale of the land would have to be approved by town residents, according to town officials.
Library officials have said there are "too many uncertainties" in the town proposal, and they want the money sooner,
They have suggested that the value of the land be appraised and the town turn over to the Library Board an amount of money equal to the appraised value of the land. The town can recoup by the money by selling the land later.
Town officials have said that because of state-imposed tax levy limits and other factors, they are not in a financial position that enables them to advance the money to the library and sell the land later.
The Village of Sussex has agreed to match whatever payment the town makes to the library based on the value of the land.
Town of Lisbon — Town Chairman Matt Gehrke has blasted the Pauline Haass Library Board for the lawsuit it filed against the town in Waukesha County Circuit Court last week.
"Whatever good will existed between the residents of the Town of Lisbon and the Library Board has probably disappeared because of that lawsuit. The people in the town that I have talked to don't like it that the tax money they are paying to help support the library is being used to file a lawsuit against the town," Gehrke said.
So far, the Library Board has spent more than $12,000 in preparation for the lawsuit. A Library Board committee has estimated an additional $50,000 may be needed in 2014, but the money has not been included in the library budget.
While much of the town's legal expenses will covered by insurance, the Library Board will have to pay for legal action out of its budget since it has initiated the legal action.
Gehrke's comments about the sentiments of town residents appeared to be confirmed by off-the-record conversations Lake County Publications has had with a number of past and present community leaders, who said the lawsuit has galvanized support in the town for Gehrke.
"At first I did not agree with Matt about the library, but since the Library Board filed the lawsuit, I have changed my mind," said one highly respected former member of both the Town and Library boards, who asked not to be identified.
Gehrke has warned on several occasions that unless the town's share of library costs are reduced, the town will not renew its longtime library funding agreement with the Village of Sussex.
The existing funding agreement expires in 2014. Sussex has developed contingency plans to take over library operations in the event the existing funding agreement is not renewed.
Library Directer Kathy Klager advised the Library Board to seek legal action, if necessary, to gain "custody and control" of the Haass land in the event the town withdrew from its participation in funding the library.
In the civil complaint filed Oct. 21, library attorney David Hase cited a state law that says, "the library shall also have exclusive charge, control and custody of all lands, buildings, money or other property devised, bequeathed, given, or granted to, or otherwise acquired by, the municipality for library purposes."
Hase contends that the Village of Sussex had established a municipal library available for use by town residents at the time of Haass's death in 1985. Two years later, he said, the village and town established the joint Pauline Haass Library.
According to the municipal agreement, the town paid about $250,000 it received from the Haass estate to the newly created library. However, the lawsuit contends the town has retained "custody and control" of the land, despite state law.
Town officials have argued that Haass' will clearly intended for her estate to be used by town officials for the "construction, supply and maintenance of a free public library."
However, according to a long-range plan for the library created in 1987 by members of the Lisbon and Sussex municipal boards, the Libary Board would have "exclusive control of all monies collected, donated or appropriated" for the library fund.
Village of Sussex — The Pauline Haass Library Board has postponed until its Dec. 18 a decision on how much money it wants to spend in the legal battle with the Town of Lisbon over the custody and control of about 65 acres of farmland that Haass donated to the town for library purposes.
The village has asked Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge James Kieffer to order the town to turn over the land to the Library Board and provide an account of how it has used other Haass assets bequeathed to the town for library purposes.
The town has filed a motion asking the judge to dismiss the case on the grounds that the Library Board does not have the authority to sue the Town Board because the Town Board, along with the Village of Sussex, created the library as part of an agreement between the two communities.
Kieffer has scheduled a hearing on the town's motion for Dec. 30.
So far, the Library Board has spent about $15,000 on the legal action. A Library Board budget committee has recommended another $50,000 be set aside for the 2014 budget. However, Library Board member and Village Trustee Tim Dietrich suggested at the Nov. 20 meeting that authorization to spend the money could be acted on as on "as needed" basis rather transferring all of the money into the budget at one time.
The board was scheduled to discuss how much money it was willing to spend on the lawsuit. However, the discussion was stopped when Library Director Kathy Klager suggested an issue had not been correctly included on the meeting agenda. Klager suggested the discussion be delayed until the December meeting, when a more accurate description of the issue can be placed on the agenda.
The meeting agenda described the issue as "discussion and possible action on moving designated reserves for legal work into 2014 budget expenditure line item."
Klager explained to the board that about $7,000 was spent on legal fees preparing for the filing of the Notice of Claim against the town earlier this year. Another approximately $8,000 was spent on legal work and board meetings after the claim was filed.
Wisconsin law requires anyone suing a municipality to file a Notice of Claim with that municipality before the lawsuit. If the town accepts the claim notice, the legal issue may be resolved outside of court. However, if the municipality refuses to accept the claim, the individual filing the notice has the option to sue the municipality.
There is a possibility that the judge may attempt to set up mediation sessions between the town and Library Board in hopes of reaching an out-of-court settlement,
However, Town Chairman Robert Williams pointed out that previous efforts at setting up mediation that have failed.
The legal dispute has stalled any discussions between the Town of Lisbon and the Village of Sussex over a possible agreement on a new long-term funding formula. They two sides have until the end of next year to reach a new funding agreement; otherwise the document that created the library becomes a year-to-year contract that can be canceled by either party.
Dissolution of library likely
Town of Lisbon— Village officials have turned down an offer from the Town of Lisbon to begin negotiations on the termination of the agreement between the two municipalities that provides for governance and most of the funding of the Pauline Haass Library.
Village Administrator Jeremy Smith said the Town Board should be negotiating with the Library Board, not the village.
Interim Town Administrator Elizabeth Kraus said the negotiations should be between the town and village since they created the library.
Town Chairman Matt Gehrke said that termination of the agreement by the town is "a foregone conclusion," and he would like to negotiate dividing the library assets as amicably as possible.
"I would welcome direct negotiations between Lisbon and Sussex that would resolve the division of the library's assets but still allow Sussex to open a new library on secure financial grounds," Gehrke said in an email statement.
The town and village have been unable to reach an agreement on a new funding formula, and the library filed a lawsuit against the town over "control and custody" of the land that the late Pauline Haass donated to the town for library purposes.
Library Board members representing the Village of Sussex and the Hamilton School District have consistently supported the lawsuit while town members of the Library Board with the exception of former Board Chairman Emil Glodoski, have opposed it.
The town has until Oct. 1 to formally notify the village that it wants to terminate the agreement at the end of this year.
According to the agreement reached in 1987, "Should termination of this agreement result in the closing of the library, the assets thereof shall be divided among the two municipalities in accordance with the ration of expense sharing in the average of the five year period preceding said termination."
However, village officials argue there should be no division of the library's assets because the termination of the agreement will not result in the closing of the library since the Village Board intends to continue operations of the library without town funding.
Town officials argue, however, that once the agreement is terminated, the Pauline Haas Library ceases to exist and the assets should be divided. Any library operated in the future by the village is not the same as the existing library.
A telephone conversation between Kraus and Smith last week illustrated another bureaucratic and legal knot that has become wrapped around the library, the town and the village.
Kraus suggested to Smith that the two municipalities attempt to reach a monetary settlement that would divide the assets of the library including allowing the town to maintain possession of the Haass land.
Smith countered that any negotiations involving library assets would have to be between the town and the Library Board, not the village. He alluded to state law which requires that the library board have "control and custody" over all of its assets.
Kraus pointed out that the library was created and funded by the two municipalities and they should have the final say in how the assets are divided.
Smith said the Village Board would go along with any decision regarding the assets made by the Library Board.
If mediation fails, the litigation will continue and probably will not be resolved before the deadline for the town to announce its intention to terminate the agreement.
Lisbon looking at library
Town of Lisbon — Town Chairman Matt
Gehrke has approached officials in the Village
and City of Pewaukee about the possibility of
the Town of Lisbon joining them in sharing the
funding and operations of the Pewaukee Library.
Gehrke said the discussions are part of the
Town Board's efforts to explore "all
alternatives" to the existing joint library
agreement with the Village of Sussex. Those
alternatives also include the possibility of
talking to the Town of Merton and Village of
IN a memo he sent to officials Gehrke has
told officials in the two Pewaukee communities
"Lisbon and Sussex will be dissolving their
joint library at year end 2014" and "The Lisbon
Town Board will like to continue to directly
fund a library" in a memo he sent to officials.
Gehrke has pointed out that the Pewaukee
Library is the second library most used by
Gehrke is proposing the town contribute about
$300,00 a year to the Pewaukee library and pay
for "unique costs involved with adding Lisbon."
The Pewaukee Library is similar in size and
structure of the Pauline Haass Library in
Sussex. Both are defined as joint libraries that
receive a majority of their funding from two
communities through a funding agreement.
Lisbon would not be entitled to any of the
assets of the Pewaukee Library, and Lisbon's
library assets obtained before Jan 1, 2015,
would remain Lisbon's, according to Gehrke's
Lisbon's largest remaining library asset is
about 65 acres of farmland at the southwest
corner of Hickory and Lake Five roads. The
Pauline Haass Library Board is suing the town
over "control and custody" of the land.
Village of Pewaukee officials recently
received Gehrke's proposal and are still
reviewing it, according to Pewaukee Library
Director Jennie Stoltz.
Stoltz predicted that both city and village
officials would want a longer-term agreement and
were not likely to go along with a proposal that
included a payment from Lisbon that is based on
a minimum amount the town would have to pay to
avoid its residents having to pay a county
The two communities now share most of the
operation costs of the library based on their
respective tax bases The city pays 74 percent or
$674,323 and the village pays 26 percent, or
Lisbon pays approximately $425,000 each year
in operating costs for the Pauline Haass
Library, in addition to about $65,000 toward a
construction bond on the library building that
will be retired at the end of this year.
The inability of Lisbon and Sussex to agree
on a new funding formula is one of the reasons
their agreement is likely to be terminated at
the end of the year. Gehrke is insisting Sussex
pay a greater share of the library cost since,
according to him, Sussex residents use the
library 75 percent more than town residents.
Town residents would have to pay an estimated
26 cents per $100,000 assessed value for the
county library tax if the Sussex joint library
agreement is dissolved. Gehrke has estimated the
tax would total somewhere between $290,000 and
$300,000, which he says is what the town would
be willing to contribute to Pewaukee's, or any
other surrounding community's, library.
Pewaukee City Administrator Tammy LaBorde
noted in a March 6 letter to Gehrke that any
agreement between Lisbon and the Pewaukees would
have to be approved by the Waukesha County
Board. In addition, she said, the village and
city might expect the town to contribute toward
the assets of the library.
Stoltz has also expressed concern, according
to LaBorde, that a consolidation of three
communities would increase the Pewaukee Library
service area population from 20,000 to 30,000,
which, because of state standards, might require
the library to hire more staff, be open for more
hours and maintain a larger collection of items
and materials for loans.
Stoltz is also concerned the Pewaukee Library
could lose some county revenues because a
majority of Lisbon residents would continue
using the Pauline Haass Library, which would be
reimbursed by the county with tax revenues paid
for by Pewaukee taxpayers.
While describing the talks as "very
preliminary," Gehrke said he hoped those issues
could be resolved.
Village of Sussex
to resolve the
dispute over about
65 acres of farmland
between the Town of
Lisbon and the
Library Board is not
likely to begin soon
and may eventually
include the Village
of Sussex, according
to both Lisbon and
Village of Sussex
their intentions to
fight any effort by
the town to force
the village into the
say they should not
be involved in the
talks because they
have no jurisdiction
over any assets
owned or controlled
by the Library
say the village
should be part of
the talks because it
was a joint
reached about 25
years ago that
created the library.
The Haass land was
donated to the town
purposes. The town
uses proceeds from
renting the farmland
to help pay its
share of the library
Gehrke, in a nearly
1,200-word essay in
out in detail to
Lisbon residents why
he and the Town
Board are planning
to terminate the
with the village at
the end of the year.
said it was "a near
certainty that the
joint library will
be dissolved at year
He asserted that
Sussex had 75
resident users of
the library than
Lisbon. As a result,
$5.25 per resident
use, compared to
Sussex's $3.15 per
resident use. He
argued that the
to the library
amounts to about 12
percent of the town
to about 7 percent
of its total budget.
suggested it was
Sussex's fault the
could not reach an
agreement on a new
plan for the
He said a Sussex
later identified as
Village Trustee Tim
Dietrich, had failed
to support an
reached by voting as
a Library Board
member to sue the
town over custody
and control of the
told The Sun he
voted for the
lawsuit in his
capacity as a
member, not as a
village trustee. He
also pointed out the
two sides never
reached a formal
agreement that was
approved by both
In January 2013,
three months after
the Library Board
filed the lawsuit,
Circuit Court Judge
James Kieffer asked
the town and Library
Board to go into
mediation in an
effort to resolve
the dispute before a
trial was scheduled
for either late this
year or early next
attorney David Hase
told Lake Country
this week that he
does not anticipate
until mid to late
"It is too soon
to start mediation,"
Hase pointed out
that lawyers for
both sides have not
begun the process of
discovering all of
available for a
trial and framing
the issues that
might be the subject
of the mediation.
He also noted
that the town has
filed a lawsuit
against the Village
of Sussex, which
make it a third
party in the
the town and Library
Elizabeth Kraus said
town officials will
insist that the
village be part of
with the Library
She echoed the
arguments made by
Gehrke and town
Gutenkunst that the
village should be
involved in the
mediation because it
was the joint
the town and village
that created the
library and any
agreement reached in
the town and library
boards would have to
be ratified by the
Smith the village
was expected to take
steps to prevent it
from being required
to participate in
Lisbon to vote to end Haass
Lisbon — The town board is expected to
formally take action next week to terminate at
the end of this year the long-standing agreement
with the Village of Sussex over sharing most of
the operating costs of the Pauline Haass Libary.
Town Chairman Matt Gehrke said a decision to
place the issue on the June 23 meeting agenda
was made during a closed session of the Town
Board on May 27 when the board discussed legal
strategy with town lawyer Katheryn Gutenkunst.
The board could have voted to terminate the
contract following the closed session, but
Supervisor Steve Panten persuaded his colleagues
to wait until the June 23 meeting so town
residents would have an opportunity to voice
their opinion on whether the agreement should be
terminated, according to several sources.
"I think all of the board pretty much agreed
with Steve. We want to make this as open and
transparent as possible. We had pretty much left
it up to Kathy to decide when we should notify
the village. She thinks now is as good a time as
any," Gehrke said.
"It is a cost saving measure. We are trying
to reduce lawyer fees for both communities,"
Gutenkunst told Lake Country Publications.
She explained that negotiations between the
town and the village over how to divide the
library's assets could begin immediately now
that the town has notified the village of the
town's intent to terminate the agreement at the
end of this year.
She said those negotiations might avoid a law
suit between the communities over dividing the
library's assets and also will eliminate the
need for the town and Library Board to continue
their legal battle over control of 65 acres farm
land and other assets that the widow Pauline
Haass donated to the town for library purposes.
Dispute on what happens
There is a dispute between town and village
officials over what happens when the contract is
terminated. The town contends that the library
can longer exist as a jointly owned municipal
library and, according to the agreement, its
assets must be divided between the communities.
Village officials have said they are prepared
to assume control of the library and operate it
at its existing level of service, and since the
town will no longer help fund library
operations, the town is not entitled to the
"This is no shocker. They have said all along
they were going to pull out. We understand the
town's position (about dividing library assets).
The village has a different one. We will just
have to see how things work out," said Village
Administrator Jeremy Smith.
For the past four years the town and village
have been at an impasse over a new funding
agreement, with Gehrke insisting the village
should pay a bigger share of the operating costs
since village residents use the library more
than town residents.
In 2013, the town contributed approximate
$420,000 and the village contributed about
$460,000 to the library budget of about $1.2
Town residents will be required to pay an
additional real estate tax to Waukesha County in
2015 and beyond — estimated to be about 26 cents
per $100,000 assessed valuation — as a result of
the termination of the agreement.
Subject to a tax
The tax revenues are used by the county to
reimburse those communities that have libraries
that provide services to communities that do not
have libraries. Sussex, if it continues to
operate the library, will receive most of the
revenues from the Lisbon tax payments.
The town and village residents were exempt
from the tax because of the joint municipal
agreement that funded the library.
However, town taxpayers were paying more per
capita to help fund the library agreement than
they would pay in the county tax, according to
Town officials also are exploring the
possibility of joining the Pewaukee Library and
sharing in the cost of that system.
During 2011 and 2012, there was some
disagreement among town board members over how,
or whether, to extend the library funding
agreement with the village.
In April of 2013, two candidates for the town
board — Hannah Heinritz and Panten — were
elected following campaigns that challenged the
idea of a new library agreement. As a result of
the election, Supervisor Joe Osterman became a
key vote for a new agreement on the board.
But, the Library Board infuriated Osterman
when they filed the law suit against the town.
Since then, the board has solidly backed
Gehrke's position that the town would terminate
the agreement unless the Library Board drops the
law suit and the village pays a bigger share of
the library operating costs.
Library will not
have to close after
Sussex — The
Library will not
have to shut
Sussex and the
town of Lisbon
that funds the
the end of this
to a state
the town and the
that could cost
of thousands of
though the board
will be out of
business at the
end of the year,
according to a
lawyer for the
expected at its
Monday, June 24,
meeting to vote
to dissolve the
the village that
$900,000 of the
the assets of
result in the
closing of the
that the library
does not have to
be closed unless
said the library
can continue to
operate if the
and maintain the
town of Lisbon
have to appoint
a new library
to De Bacher.
said the state
was willing to
are no precedent
happens when a
have not been
able to agree on
a new funding
formula for the
that Sussex pay
a larger share
of the operating
use the library
more than town
After two new
elected in April
2013, the five
whether to even
consider a new
against a new
board filed a
control over 65
acres of farm
had donated to
the town to be
used for library
James R. Keiffer
motion by a
for a ruling in
favor of the
Keiffer ruled on
June 9 that
of material fact
in dispute" and
library and the
both sides say
until they have
for a trial that
could be held
later this year.
However, it now
that either a
mediation can be
library board is
dissolved at the
end of the year.
So far, the
has spent about
$24,500 in legal
fees as part of
there has been
that lawyers for
the village and
assets as soon
as possible in
order to avoid
bills for either
Sussex or Lisbon
Lisbon terminates Sussex library agreement
By Kelly Smith
Village of Sussex - As expected, the Lisbon Town Board unanimously agreed tonight to terminate at the end of the year the joint municipal agreement with the Village of Sussex that funds most of the operations of the Pauline Haass Library.
The town contributes about $420,000 annually to the library's approximately $1.2 million budget and the village contributes another approximately $460,000.
The town and village have been attempting to agree on a new funding formula during nearly four years of negotiations that were side tracked when the Library Board decided to sue the town over control of 65 acres of farm land donated to the town for library purposes by Pauline Haass.
The library is not expected to close when the funding agreement expires. Sussex village officials have vowed to take over the library and maintain it at existing service levels.
Town residents will be able to continue to use the library, and other Waukesha County library facilities, but will have to pay a county library tax that is estimated to be about 26 cents $100,000 assessed valuation.
Lisbon Town Board ends library agreement with Sussex
Town of Lisbon — After more than an hour of intense discussions with town residents, the town board on Monday, June 23, unanimously voted to terminate the 27-year-old joint municipal library agreement with the village of Sussex that funds most of the operations of the Pauline Haass Library.
The town contributes about $426,000 annually to library operations, while the village adds another $468,000 to the library's approximately $1.2 million budget. Funds from Waukesha County and other revenue sources provide the remainder of the library's revenues.
The library will not be forced to close when the funding agreement, created in 1987, ends Dec. 31. Sussex intends to take over library operations, and some village officials have pledged to maintain the existing level of services.
Town residents will be allowed to continue to use the Pauline Haass library, along with other library facilities in Waukesha County, but they will have to pay a county library tax, estimated to be about 26 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation.
Nearly two dozen residents attended the meeting, with nine of them speaking in favor of continuing the agreement and five speaking against it. Town board members spent nearly an hour in a sometimes-emotional discussion with town residents about the pros and cons of continuing the agreement.
Before last week's meeting, a consensus had developed among the town board members to terminate the agreement because of its costs, a lawsuit filed against the town by the library board, and the results of the April municipal elections.
Two new board members — Steven Panten and Hannah Heinritz — were elected to the board after campaigning against the library agreement.
Some of the residents who attended the meeting were part of a last-ditch effort by the Friends of the Library to save the funding agreement.
Slap in the face
Former library board President Emil Glodoski, a town resident, suggested the library will be forced to reduce services if the agreement is not renewed.
"The library will take a hit," he said.
"This is a slap in the face to Sussex. It will set back for a generation — maybe more than a generation — relationships between Lisbon and Sussex," he added.
Some of the town residents argued that the potential savings to them — possibly as much as a $100 — by paying the county library tax compared to the cost of the library agreement was not worth the risk of losing services provided by the library.
"The amount of money is minimal," said Karen Murphy, "We need to keep our communities together."
Some of the residents asserted that the late Pauline Haass would not have approved of the town board severing the agreement with Sussex.
However, another former library board president, Robert Williams, noted that Haass donated the land and about $250,000 in cash for the town board, not the village, to determine the best use of the land and money for library purposes.
Williams, a former town supervisor, emphasized that town residents would be allowed to continue to use the library.
Town resident Gary Gehlback added that by terminating the agreement the town was making available additional funds that could be used for purposes other than a library.
Why end agreement?
After the discussion, each of the five members of the Town Board outlined their reasons for ending the agreement.
Heinritz said the town and village have different philosophies regarding government spending, and the town's more-conservative fiscal positions were not being respected by a majority of the library board.
Supervisor Ryan Lippert, a member of the library board and the town's representative in negotiations with village, said, "I have spent four years of my life trying to get an agreement. I wanted an agreement more than anybody, but it just did not work out. It is unfortunate."
Lippert added that an agreement providing the town would pay 60 percent and the village would 40 percent of the municipal costs of the library had been worked out, but that pact was broken when the library board decided to file a lawsuit against the town seeking control of 65 acres of farmland donated by the late Haass to the town for library purposes.
Town Chairman Matt Gehrke noted that because of the funding agreement, the town was devoting 12 percent of its budget to library services, while other communities in the county were providing 6 to 8 percent of their budgets to library services.
In addition, Gehrke said the town board will attempt to lower the town's 2015 tax levy in an effort to offset the additional county library tax residents will have to pay.
Panten noted that 30 percent of town residents use other community library services. By ending the agreement, those other community libraries will receive a more equitable share of town tax revenues to help pay for the services they provide town residents.
Panten added the Library Board was paying too much money for salary increases and new programs.
Supervisor Joe Osterman said he warned the library board if it sued the town it would destroy any chance of a long-term library funding agreement between the town and village.
"I don't think we should be funding someone who is suing us and making us pay for half of their legal fees," Osterman said, noting the town is helping pay for the library lawyers, since the town contributes to the operating cost of the library
Town board members also noted that until last week there had been limited public interest in the negotiations between the town, village and library that had been going on for nearly four years.
"This issue has been brewing for years, It is sad to me that it has to come to the last day before people start showing up," noted Heinritz.
Ending Pauline Haass library agreement has legal, financial implications
Town of Lisbon - Town Chairman Matt Gehrke says he anticipates the Town Board will set aside for tax relief a portion of the $426,000 in additional revenues the town will gain in 2015 as a result of terminating the joint municipal library funding agreement with the Village of Sussex.
However, Gehrke concedes he does not know how much money the board will agree to set aside in an effort to provide town tax relief to residents who are likely to pay about $75 in additional Waukesha County taxes as a result of the library agreement ending in 2014.
Town residents will be required to pay a county library tax since the town will no longer be contributing to providing library services for its residents.
The 2014 library tax rate is 27 cents per $1,000 which equals about $75 for the owner of a home assessed for tax purposes at $280,000.
However, Waukesha County Federated Library System (W
The Town Board voted unanimously last week to terminate the joint funding agreement that paid for most of the $1.2 million in annual operating costs for the library. The town's share of those cost is about $426,000 which can now became available for other purposes.
Gehrke said he wants to see some of the money used for highway repairs. Supervisor Joe Osterman said he would like to a see a portion of the money used for establishing a fund to help eventually pay the salary and expenses related to a Waukesha County sheriff's deputy
Lisbon asks court to control Sussex library spending
Town of Lisbon - Town officials are asking the Waukesha County Circuit Court for a temporary injunction that will restrict spending by the Pauline Haass Joint Municipal Library Board during the remainder of 2014.
Lisbon officials are concerned that the Library Board, which will go out of business on Dec. 31, may spend down its reserve funds so the town will gain less revenue from any agreement reached with the Village of Sussex regarding dividing the library's assets, according to Town Chairman Matt Gehrke.
Gehrke said the town and village must split the library's assets as a result of the Town Board voting on June 23 to terminate the joint municipal agreement with the village that funded and governed the library, located in Sussex, for the past 26 years.
Sussex village trustees will discuss in a closed session in August whether to engage in negotiations with the town even though village officials do not believe the town is entitled to a share of the library's assets, according to Village Administrator Jeremy Smith
The town is asking the court to prohibit the library from spending beyond appropriation levels outlined in the 2014 budget and to prohibit the library from spending any of its reserve funds. In addition, the town is asking the court to require the library board seeking court approval for spending for goods and services in excess of $10,000.
Library Director Kathy Klager said she does not know of any plans to spend reserve funds other than to pay some utility bills that may exceed budgeted amounts. Spending of any reserve funds would have to be approved by the Library Board, she added.
Pauline Haass library assets at issue in Lisbon/Sussex split
Town of Lisbon —
Town officials say they would prefer to begin negotiations with the village of Sussex now, rather than after Jan 1, regarding how the two communities will divide the assets of the Pauline Haass Library, following the town's decision to terminate the joint municipal agreement that funds most of the library operations.
Meanwhile, the town is also seeking a temporary injunction in Waukesha County Circuit Court that would prohibit the library board from spending certain funds during the remainder of 2014.
Members of the joint municipal library board are appointed by the town and village, which together fund about $885,000 of the approximately $1 million library budget. The library board operates independently of the town and village boards.
According to state officials, the existing library board will go out of business Dec. 31, since the town board on June 23 unanimously agreed to terminate the 26-year-old joint municipal agreement..
Village officials plan to continue library operations in 2015 and do not think the town is entitled to any of the library's assets
The town is asking the court to block any spending by the library board that exceeds appropriation levels in the 2014 budget or involves spending reserve funds. In addition, the town is asking the court to require the library board to seek court approval of any spending for goods and services that exceeds $10,000.
Town Chairman Matt Gehrke said the town is seeking the legal action because it fears that the Library Board may spend down some of its existing reserve funds to reduce revenues the town might receive as a result of the town and village agreeing to split library assets.
Gehrke said that to reduce potential legal costs for both communities, the negotiations over the library's assets should begin immediately rather than waiting until the agreement formally ends at the end of the year.
"We are going to have to discuss it sooner or later, and I would rather it be sooner than later,"Gehrke said.
Sussex Village Administrator Jeremy Smith said village trustees will meet in a closed session in August to discuss legal strategy and whether to proceed with negotiations with the town over the library's assets. Smith said village officials do not think the town is entitled to any of the assets because the town chose to terminate the agreement.
But town officials maintain the town is entitled to a share of the library's assets because, according to the intermunicipal agreement, the assets shall be divided "should termination of this agreement result in closing of the library."
Wisconsin Library Development Director John DeBacher said there is no precedent decision in state courts regarding whether a joint municipal library must be closed or dissolved as a result of the termination of municipal library agreement.
DeBacher said he does not believe the Pauline Haass Library would have to be closed if the village of Sussex assumed control of the library and provided adequate funding to meet state and county library standards.
However, DeBacher said a new library board would have to be appointed.
Smith reiterated village plans to include library operations in its 2015 budget.
In 2014, the village contributed about $513,000 to library operations, including about $68,000 in debt service and about $461,000 for its share of the municipal contributions to the library.
In 2015, he anticipated the village board would contribute about $538,000, which approximately represents the previous year's operating and debt service contributions.
He noted that since the building bonds for the library are paid off at the end of 2014, the village could use the money it annually contributed to debt service for operations in future years.
Lisbon and Sussex volunteers and staff working together on Heritage Festival, ice cream social, despite...
Lake Country Reporter
Town of Lisbon — Despite the tensions and legal battles between the Lisbon town government and the Pauline Haass Library Board, the library board's staff and volunteers in the town's park department continue to work together to promote community events.
Volunteers from the town's park department will be attending this week's library sponsored ice cream social in downtown Sussex between 6 and 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 6, in order to pass out literature that promote the town's 7th annual Heritage Festival on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 9 and 10, at the Lisbon Community Park near Oakwood and Lake Five Roads.
The social, sponsored by the Fairways of Woodside Golf Course in the town of Lisbon, has become an annual village tradition held at the village government complex on Main Street. It is held in onjunction with National Night Out, which has several sponsors including the local Lions Club, fire department, and the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department.
The social and National Night Out provide a platform for park volunteers to launch last minute promotional efforts for the Heritage Festival. The event features educational and entertainment exhibits, along with re-enactors in historic period costumes who portray particular eras, ranging from the Roman Empire to modern societies.
There will be more than 60 re-enactors at the heritage festival. At least one will attend the social to promote the festival, according to Marlene Kumitsch, town park board chairman.
Kumitsch said that in addition to promoting the festival the social also provides an opportunity for citizens of the town of Lisbon and village of Sussex to work together.
"I think it is good public relations. It is a good relationship builder between people in the town, the library staff and the people in the village. We are working together to help promote each others events and it is all about the children who can have educational opportunities at both the library and the Heritage Festival," Kumitsch said.
"We are happy to help them, I expect Marlene may even scoop some ice cream for us," said Becky Murray, assistant library director.
"We have a lot of people from Lisbon who use our library services and there a lot of people from Sussex and some of the surrounding communities that attend the Heritage Festival. So, we are happy to work together," she added.
The "happy to work together" philosophy is not shared by the two respective governing bodies.
The town of Lisbon has voted to terminate at the end of the year a joint agreement with the village of Sussex that defines how the Pauline Haass Library is operated and funded by the two municipalities. Sussex village officials have vowed to continue the library operations without the town's participation.
The board has filed a lawsuit seeking "custody and control" of 65 acres of farm land donated to the town for library purposes by Pauline Haass. Library officials argue that state law requires any land or assets donated for the library purposes must be controlled by a library board.
Town officials said Haass donated the land to town for the town board to determine how it was to used for library purposes, not the library or village board.
The town recently filed legal action seeking an injunction from the Waukesha County Circuit Court to prevent the library board from spending any money beyond what its received in contributions from the two municipalities. Town officials argue the board must have permission from the two municipalities before it can spend beyond what the municipalities contributed to the library.
Judge questions Haass Library spending
A Waukesha County Circuit Court judge has questioned why the Pauline Haass Library Board, which will be eliminated at the end of the year, continues to spend taxpayers dollars on litigation against the town of Lisbon.
During a more-than-hourlong court hearing Thursday, Aug. 28, Judge James Kieffer told lawyers for the library board, the town and the village of Sussex that taxpayer dollars would be better spent if they were trying to resolve various legal issues out of court rather than preparing to litigate the issues.
He instructed the lawyers to "immediately" contact retired Judge Patrick Snyder, who will be appointed as a mediator in court-ordered negotiations among the three parties in an effort to resolve the legal issues.
Kieffer also postponed a pretrial conference and a hearing on motions until later this year to give the lawyers more time to try to negotiate a settlement and possibly reach an agreement on how the library's assets will be divided between the town and village.
He granted Lisbon's request for a restraining order against the library board that limits its ability to spend money and use cash reserves between now and the end of the year, when the library board will be dissolved.
End of an era
The Lisbon Town Board voted earlier this year to terminate the joint municipal agreement that has funded and operated the Pauline Haass Library for the past 27 years. The Sussex Village Board has said it will take over library operations after Jan. 1 but will have to appoint a new library board.
"There is no question the library board will go out of existence in four months and four days. The only question is how the board's assets will be divided," Kieffer said.
At one point in the hearing, Kieffer questioned library board lawyer David Hase about why the board was continuing its lawsuit claiming it should have "custody and control" of 65 acres of farmland donated to the town for library purposes by the late Paulinee Haass.
Hase responded that the board had an obligation to seek possession of the land since state law requires that any donations to a library must be put in the custody and control of the library board. In addition, he said the library board was attempting to protect all of its assets in the event there was a dissolutionment of the joint municipal agreement.
It appeared that Kieffer rejected the library and village board's legal arguments that the state law trumped the joint municipal agreement between the town and village.
Instead, Kieffer said, the agreement is a contract that runs concurrently with state laws regulating libraries.
He ruled that the library board existed as a result of the joint municipal agreement between the town and village, and therefore the village must be part of the out-of-court negotiations.
Two weeks ago the village rejected the town's offer to begin negotiations about how to divide library assets as provided in the joint agreement.
"Of course, we will obey the judge," Village President Greg Goetz said after being told about Kieffer's decision.
However, Geotz and Village Administrator Jeremy Smith said they wanted to confer with village and library lawyers about the decision.
"It is only one judge's opinion," said Smith, who did not rule out the possibility that the village might appeal the order.
Library Board Chairman Tim Dietrich was not available for comment.
Town Attorney Katheryn Guntenkunst said she was "delighted" with the judge's ruling and emphasized town officials have been trying to minimize the cost of legal fees in the dispute.
Guntenkunst asked the judge for the restraining order against the library board earlier this year after Library Director Kathy Klager discussed with the library board the possibility of hiring an architect. Klager wanted the architect to advise the board on the design of additional library space that might be included in a proposed new village hall.
Town representatives on the library board were furious. They later complained to a reporter that town funds would be used to help pay for an architect who would design library facilities that would be owned and controlled by the village after the end of the year.
Although Klager later rescinded the idea of hiring the architect, Guntenkunst pursued the restraining order because town officials wanted to prevent the library board from spending any money that was not in the 2014 library board budget that included town funds.
In 2014, the town contributed $426,000 and the village added $468,000 in operating revenues to the library's $1.2 million budget.
The town board terminated the funding agreement because the municipalities could not reach an agreement on a new funding formula for the library.
Mediation over Haass library scheduled
Village of Sussex — Although court-ordered mediation is scheduled to begin on Oct. 8, the Pauline Haass Library Board — which will be dissolved in three months — may continue its legal battles with the town of Lisbon over farm land once donated to the town to be used for library purposes.
Library Board President Tim Dietrich says he has "absolutely not" ruled out the possibility the library board may appeal a recent decision by Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge James R. Kieffer, which resulted in an injunction against the library board that limits 2014 spending and an order requiring the library board, the town, and the village of Sussex to begin mediation over various legal issues.
However, Dietrich, who is also a village trustee, emphasized that the library board and the village of Sussex will abide by the judge's order and begin mediation with the town of Lisbon.
Dietrich, a retired truck driver with 15 years experience in negotiating Teamster labor contracts, said he hopes the mediation sessions can be productive and will result in an out-of-court settlement.
"We want to spend as little money as possible on this," he said.
However, David Hase, an attorney for the library board, recently demanded that town officials produce numerous documents dating back to the creation of the municipal agreement and answer a series of question about what the town board has done with other funds and assets donated by Haass.
Town Attorney Kathryn Gutenkunst believes the document demand "violates the spirit" of Judge Kieffer's order, according to Town Chairman Matt Gehrke.
During an Aug. 28 hearing, Kieffer suggested that taxpayer money would be better spent by lawyers representing the town, library, and village, trying to reach an out-of-court settlement through mediation rather than preparing for court hearings and a possible trial involving the library board that goes out of existence on Dec. 31.
The town board voted earlier this year to terminate the 27-year-old joint municipal agreement with the village that created the library. The village board plans to continue library operations but will have to appoint a new library board after Jan. 1.
The mediation issues are likely to include whether the town board or the library retains "custody and control" of the Haass farm land and how the assets of the library will be divided between the town and village when the joint municipal agreement ends on Dec. 31.
Five things to know about the Pauline Haass Library after the board dissolves
By Kelly Smith
The Library Board of the Pauline Haass Library, which serves the village of Sussex and the town of Lisbon, will be eliminated on Dec. 31 as a result of the town of Lisbon deciding not to renew the agreement that authorized the operation of the library, provided most of its funding, and created the library board.
The debate among elected officials and maneuvering among lawyers for the town, village and library board has resulted in some confusion regarding the future of the library.
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions:
1. What will happen to the library after Dec. 31?
The village of Sussex will continue operating the Pauline Haass Library as a municipal library funded by a combination of village and county tax revenues as well as non-tax revenue sources. The village and the Waukesha County Board will appoint members of a new library board, a majority of which will be Sussex residents, according to village and county officials. The new library board will take over on Jan. 1.
2. How will library services be affected ?
According to the village and library officials, the existing level of library services will continue. Residents of both the town of Lisbon and village of Sussex, as well as residents of other communities, will be permitted to continue to check materials out of the library and participate in library programs.
3.What will happen to library employees?
Nothing, according to Library Board Chairman Tim Dietrich. The employees will remain on their jobs and their salaries and benefits will be administered by the village of Sussex.
4. How will this affect my taxes?
If you are a resident of the town of Lisbon, you will pay an additional Waukesha County real estate tax rate of approximately 28 cents per $1,000, which is lieu of the annual contribution the town of Lisbon made to the library prior to the termination of the joint municipal library agreement, according to county library officials.
If you a resident of Sussex, there may be very little, if any, impact on your tax bill, according to village officials
Village Administrator Jeremy Smith has said that the village's annual contribution to the library operations and debt service, in addition to additional revenues from Waukesha County, along with non-tax revenues, are sufficient for the village to maintain the library at its existing level of services.
5. What overall changes will I see in library operations?
"When people walk through those (library) doors after Jan. 1, most of them are not going to notice any differences," said Library Board President Tim Dietrich, who is also a member of the village board.
Library mediation set to begin
Village of Sussex —
With court-ordered mediation scheduled to begin in a week, there are indications that the long-standing dispute involving the Pauline Haass Library Board, the Town of Lisbon and the Village of Sussex may be winding down.
However, some of the legal skirmishes between attorneys and tensions between Lisbon and Sussex library board members and elected officials may continue.
Members of the library board clashed during a meeting last week before they agreed to dissolve a mediation committee that had been appointed earlier in the year.
Lawyers representing the town and the library board have been exchanging letters in a dispute over the meaning of ruling by Judge James Kieffer and the wording of a court order issued as a result of the Aug. 27 ruling.
During the board meeting, former Library Board President Robert Williams said it was likely a judge, either Kieffer or retired Judge Patrick Snyder, would resolve the dispute by making the final determination regarding how the assets of the library will be divided between the town and village.
Williams was expressing publicly what some key library and Town of Lisbon officials have said privately; they do not expect mediation to be successful and ultimately it will be up a judge to make the final determination.
However, if the mediation were successful any compromise agreement would have to be ratified by the village and town boards.
The mediation sessions are scheduled to begin on Oct. 8 and continue, if needed, on Oct. 17.
In ordering the mediation in August, Kieffer said the town and village should "cut to chase" and begin mediation rather than "simply piling up more legal fees.
"The issue that remains in how the assets of Pauline Haas Public Library Board are then to be distributed or parceled out amongst the various parties," he said.
However, village officials have emphasized they intend to allow library operations to continue without the Town of Lisbon by using existing village library revenue, Waukesha County library tax revenues and other non-municipal revenue sources to fund the approximately $1 millon a year operation.
Therefore, a majority of the library board argues that library assets should not be divided, Tim Dietrich, board president, said.
Williams advised the board and staff to be cautious in its spending in the next four months to make sure it does not exceed spending authorized in the 2013 budget, which was the last approved budget.
Williams advised the board and staff to be cautious in its spending in the next four months to make sure it does not exceed spending authorized in the 2013 budget, which was the last budget approved by the both the town and village.
After some debate, the board agreed there was no longer a need for board members to serve on a mediation committee since agreement as a result fo the mediation would have to approved by the Library Board, if it still existed.
Before the library board is dissolved, the village board and the Waukesha County Board will both appoint members of a new board which will take over on Jan. 1. A majority of the new board will be village residents, according to county library officials.
Residents of the town and village will continue to be able check out books and other materials and participate in library activities. However, town residents will have to pay Waukesha County library tax of about 28 cents per $100,000, which generates about $300,000, according to county library officials, in lieu of the annual contribution the town board made to library operations.
Progress in Haass Library talks
Village of Sussex —
Both sides are reporting some progress in the mediation between the town of Lisbon and village of Sussex over the dividing of the assets of the Pauline Haass Library although key participants in the talks acknowledged the two sides are still far apart.
"I am hopeful that we can come to some agreement," said Village Trustee Tim Dietrich, who is also library board president.
"I think we made some progress during the last two hours of the second day," added Town Chairman Matt Gehrke.
Dietrich said he believed progress was made during the Oct.17 session because Gehrke and Town Supervisor Joe Osterman were able to meet face to face and privately with Village Administrator Jeremy Smith.
Dietrich said the session improved communication between the two sides.
"I wasn't in the room during those discussions but I got the impression afterward that they made a difference," he said.
Gehrke also expressed hope the two sides could reach an agreement but acknowledged they have not agreed on a key issue, the value of the assets of the library.
The town board voted to terminate the 27-year-old agreement with the village that provides most of the funding for the library earlier this year. The agreement stipulates that in the event the agreement is dissolved, the town and village will divide the total value of the assets of the library.
The village plans to take over, and continue, library operations after Dec. 31 when the agreement expires.
Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge James Kieffer ordered the mediation in hopes of resolving a series of lawsuits filed by the village, the town and the library board.
Retired Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Patrick Snyder is conducting the mediation sessions that began on Oct. 8 in the law offices of Town Attorney Kathy Gutenkunst and continued on Oct. 17.
Another mediation session has not been scheduled, according to Gehrke and Dietrich.