Whitefish Wants Its Own Library, Thank You Very Much

Armed with donation pledges, the Whitefish (MT) library is officially severing its ties with the Flathead County Library System.

On Oct. 18, the Whitefish City Council voted to notify the Flathead County Library Board of Trustees that it intends to terminate its interlocal agreement and establish a separate tax-supported city library. Termination will be effective July 1, 2011.

The decision came on the heels of a final opinion from the state attorney general’s office stating that Whitefish can legally create an independent library and collect a mill levy to fund it. The city will levy 5.95 mills, replacing the county levy for library services.

In addition, Whitefish resident Jake Heckathorn has offered $100,000 to help establish a separate library and indicated that he knows of another person willing to donate $100,000. The Whitefish Library Association has also pledged to contribute funds.

The split comes after more than a year of publicized disagreements between Flathead County library officials and advocates of an autonomous Whitefish library.

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