EDITORIAL: Shelve the opt-out provision for library consolidation

The issue: Library consolidationOur opinion: The opt-out provision is a cop-out. It's just one more way for state lawmakers and local officials to pass the buck on bringing necessary re
2009-03-03T00:00:00Z EDITORIAL: Shelve the opt-out provision for library consolidation nwitimes.com
March 03, 2009 12:00 am

Members of the Indiana General Assembly have thrown an amazing number of obstacles in the way of local government reform.

Senate Bill 348, which deals with library district consolidations, is a perfect example of how the public good has succumbed to the lobbyists' pressure.

Under this legislation, planning committees would be established in each county to design consolidated library systems or defend proposals to maintain multiple library districts.

This is aimed at bringing library services to the 6.5 percent of Hoosiers currently not served by a library district.

But it also is aimed at places like Lake County, where there are so many smaller library districts that overhead costs are higher than with a larger district.

It's a situation where the "experts" -- the library administrators -- have a vested interest in preserving their own jobs and aren't in the best position to offer advice on whether consolidation is in the public's best interest.

The leaders of Lake County's seven library districts -- Crown Point, East Chicago, Gary, Hammond, Lowell, Lake County and Whiting -- have asked the General Assembly to exclude them from the consolidation legislation. No surprise there.

Under SB 348, voters would be offered the choice of whether to opt out of any proposed reorganization. This means legislators are passing the buck on hard decisions that could save the taxpayers money and, in some cases, improve efficiency at the same time.

We saw how well that worked with streamlining the property tax assessing function. Unlike elsewhere in Indiana, Lake County voters offered the choice opted for the status quo in all but one township.

Why should we expect a different result with library consolidation?

The opt-out provision is a cop-out. It's just one more way for state lawmakers and local officials to pass the buck on bringing necessary reforms to local government.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Latest Local Offers

Featured Businesses

Submit a Letter to Editor

We welcome letters from readers on any issue of public interest, and make every effort to publish as many as we can and in a timely manner. The Times will publish only one letter a month from a writer, and be sure to include your name, address and a telephone number for verification. Letters should be 150 words or less. They will be edited.

Letters may be submitted:
  • Via our submission form.
  • Via e-mail.
  • Via fax: (219) 933-3249 or (219) 465-7298
  • Via mail or by hand to our offices:
    • 601 45th Ave., Munster, IN 46321
    • 2080 N. Main St., Crown Point, IN 46307
    • 1111 Glendale Blvd., Valparaiso, IN 46383
    • 3410 Delta Dr., Portage, IN 46368
    • Please mark envelopes with "Attn: Letters"

Questions?

Email Editorial Page Editor Doug Ross or call (219) 548-4360 or (219) 933-3357

Poll

Loading…

Who should get the Democratic nomination for Calumet Township trustee?

View Results

National Video