Randall withdraws from Community Library

The Randall Town Board voted to withdraw from the Community Library at a meeting Thursday night.

The withdrawal will be effective Dec. 31, 2025, a timeframe mandated by state statute.

The vote for the withdrawal passed on a 4 to 1 voice vote with Supervisor Nancy Kemp, who is the town’s representative on the Community Library board, voting no.

Randall property owners will still pay a library tax as mandated by state statute, but the funds will now go to the Kenosha County Library System instead of the Community Library, whose other remaining members are Twin Lakes, Salem Lakes and Paddock Lake. The Community Library maintains branches in Salem Lakes and Twin Lakes.

Board members favoring the withdrawal have justified it on a financial basis. They contend that the change could mean that the amount of library tax throughout the whole town would be $20,000 to $45,000 less, resulting in an estimated $20 to $28 savings for Randall taxpayers.

“We’re talking about saving money for the town,” said Supervisor George Bailitz. “We have to do what we think is best for the town as a whole.”

Town Chairperson Paula Soderman said “The decisions we make are not easy ones. We worry about the bottom line …”

Eleven audience members spoke about the issue during citizens comments. Six identified themselves as Randall residents, four as Twin Lakes residents and one as a Wheatland resident. Two spoke in support of the withdrawal with the others supporting staying in the Community Library.

Kevin Fitzgerald, a member of the Community Library board and a Twin Lakes village trustee, gave a presentation showing the anticipated savings is actually an illusion created by how the Community Library receives its funding in effect a year in arrears.

“You don’t save a penny,” Fitzgerald said. “All you do is skip a year. You’re not going to save anything …”

Other audience members supporting staying in the library addressed the usefulness of the institution to the community.

Representing the other side, Sue Hughes, a Randall resident, said Community Library branches will still exist and Randall residents will still be able to use them.

“I haven’t heard anything that tells me we’re going to lose that library,” Hughes said. She added that to her the $20 to $28 tax savings was significant.

The Community Library was established in 1977 as a volunteer organization. It became a municipal library with a joint agreement between Salem and Paddock Lake in 1980. Silver Lake joined in 1987 and Twin Lakes and Randall in 1993, with the opening of a branch in Twin Lakes. The library also has a facility in Salem Lakes.


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