Lindsay breaks ground on library

By Reggie Ellis

The City of Lindsay broke ground on its new library several weeks ago.

The 6,000 square foot library is being built at the corner of Mirage and Samoa avenues in downtown Lindsay. While no actual construction has begun, underground piping and plumbing is underway. It will replace the existing 1,800 square foot library that has been in use for more than four decades. The new library will include a children's reading area, outdoor courtyard, conference room and the potential to hold 50% more books and magazines. The larger facility also has room to serve as a venue for various community events, seminars and presentations.

County Librarian Brian Lewis will speak about the new library construction at the fall meeting of the Lindsay Friends of the Library at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 14 at the existing library, 165 N. Gale Hill St. near City Hall. For further information on the meeting, call the library at 562-3021.

The $1.6 million facility is unique because it is being built through a combination of city and county funding as part of the Tulare County Library system. The county's portion of the funding is through the Millennium Fund, an endowment account created in 1999 with the county's annual portion of tobacco-settlement payments.

The good news for Lindsay and other Tulare County communities is that the Millennium Fund remains strong. Despite a challenging investment market with rising interest rates, fund managers informed Tulare County Supervisors that Tulare County's Millennium Fund is exceeding revenue projections by $1.4 million.

In their annual report presented to Board members on Tuesday, Aug. 29, financial advisors from Public Financial Management, Inc. (PFM) provided an update on the Millennium Fund's performance during the past year.

&#8220If the County chose to unwind the Millennium Fund tomorrow, the County could pay off its bonds and realize a net $5.9 million,” said Assistant County Administrative Officer Jean Rousseau, noting that those gains have been realized despite challenging market conditions. &#8220Even so, today the Millennium Fund is $1.4 million higher than the original 1999 estimates.”

In recent years, the underlying investments have been adjusted to a shorter term in order to respond to the changing investment market. The endowment is designed to provide the County $2.5 million a year to pay for local needs.

The purpose of the Millennium Fund program is to use the County of Tulare's share of the national tobacco settlement to establish an endowment that will provide a stable, long-term source of funds to pay the costs for public capitol improvements, such as the Lindsay Library, and major repair and maintenance costs.

PFM is one of the nation's leading advisory firm serving the public sector. They advise clients on more than $20 billion-worth of investments, including Tulare County. PFM was retained as part of competitive process to solicit investment advisory services several years ago.

The Fund was originally established in 1999 by borrowing $40 million, which the County pledged to repay as it received annual tobacco settlement payments. The Fund has grown over time to the point where, despite cumulative withdrawals of more than $13.7 million, on April 1, 2006 it had a total value of $48.7 million.

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