Another task force ignored

I’ve written many times that local government loves to appoint citizens to task forces and blue-ribbon committees on the tough issues. The citizens advisory meets for months working on the issue. When they issue their report, the elected officials applaud their efforts. Then the report goes in a filing cabinet and is ignored.

In my research for another story, I came across a Sept. 2004 news article on a task force for the West Florida Regional Library System. The 15-member task force, formed by the City of Pensacola, Escambia County and Santa Rosa County, recommended a 10-year, $66 million improvement plan to Santa Rosa and Escambia County officials this week. Though the money sought was huge, the task force said the improvements only will bring the system up to “average” when compared to other public library systems in the state.

Here are their other recommendations:

  • The Pensacola City Council and Escambia County Commission should address inequities that exist between the two entities in per capita funding of library services.
  • Santa Rosa County, Escambia County and the City of Pensacola should assign a senior staff member to work with citizen groups on a 10-year library plan.
  • Library branches should be added in the Interstate 10 and Nine Mile Road areas, Pace, Century, Beulah and Midway . A new library should be constructed in Milton.
  • The central library needs to be renovated or a new one constructed and the Tryon Branch library on Ninth Avenue should be either relocated or expanded.
  • Branches in Gulf Breeze, Jay and Navarre Beach should be improved and expanded.
  • A public library special taxing district should be developed.
  • Electronic library service kiosks should be added in malls and shopping centers and mobile computer laboratories should serve senior citizens and community centers.
  • Since this report, Santa Rosa County has left the regional system. They just got too frustrated waiting for the City of Pensacola -that runs the system – to do anything.