Thunderbolt mayor responds to decision to close public library - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Thunderbolt mayor responds to decision to close public library

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
THUNDERBOLT (WTOC) -

Thunderbolt's Mayor, Beth Goette, says she is doing all she can to keep the town's only library open.

Earlier this week, the Live Oak Library board voted to close it because they say there were too many repairs to be made and not enough money to make them.

In a statement, Mayor Goette saying, in part;

"I have been in contact with our 3rd District Commissioner, Bobby Lockett, who had given us his assistance and support. We still remain amiable to meeting with Live Oak and Chatham County to discuss and find a solution to keep our Library open."

You can read the mayor's entire statement below:

I was deeply saddened and disappointed with the Live Oak Public Library Board of Trustees’ (LOPL) decision on Tuesday, September 26, 2017 to close our beloved Library. The Thunderbolt Library has been a part of the Town of Thunderbolt and its history for over 75 years. The comments included in the motion were a direct insult to the Town of Thunderbolt portraying Thunderbolt to be uncaring and non-productive regarding the maintenance repairs of the library building. Thunderbolt was not aware of these issues until just prior to receiving notice from the LOPL’s decision to close our library. Live Oak along with the Town assumed Live Oak owned the building until ownership came into question after the Board made their decision to close the Thunderbolt Branch.

At their July meeting, I as well as many of our citizens felt encouraged by their decision to table the closing until their September meeting, in hopes of working together collectively with Live Oak and Chatham County to find a solution. The Thunderbolt Library Branch provides services not only to Town of Thunderbolt citizens but to all those in the surrounding areas whom enjoy and benefit from this facility which will be missed by so many. Several unanswered questions come to my mind and the minds of our citizens:

Why didn’t Live Oak make the repairs to the Library when they were notified of these repairs by LOPL staff? Some of these repairs date back as far as 2009.

If additional funds were needed for maintenance, why didn’t Live Oak contact Chatham County or the Town requesting the need for additional funds?

Where are the records or documents regarding the much needed repairs and funds?

Where is the legal document stating the building solely belongs to Thunderbolt? Ownership was in question starting from the July meeting? The Town of Thunderbolt finally had to contract the services of a title company, and is presently awaiting their findings.

When was the recommendation to close the library initially discussed? Is this decision solely due to maintenance or overall funding issues in general?

If Live Oak was not the legal owner of the building, then why was business conducted as such for all these years? Why was there an MOU with the County, if the Town owned the building?

We further feel that the Library’s maintenance issues should have been addressed long before today’s decision and that Live Oak was responsible for taking care of any maintenance issues as they had in the past. Live Oak should have contacted the Town if they were in need of assistance and unable to maintain the facility long before July of this year. Prior to and since the Board of Trustees’ decision, I have been in contact with our 3rd District Chatham County Commissioner, Bobby Lockett, who had given us his assistance and support. Mr. Lockett received verbal support from Chatham County Commission Chairman, Al Scott, County Manager, Lee Smith and County Attorney, Jonathan Hart. We still remain amiable to meeting with Live Oak and Chatham County to discuss and find a solution to keep our Library open.

Respectfully,

Mayor Beth Goette

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