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May 20, 2019

5/16/2019 2:11:00 PM
Family gifts $100,000 to Taylors Falls Library
 Taylors Falls Library Board and Librarian accepted the $100,000 donation-- with Bob Wilberg representing the family. Pictured, from right, Board members Marlys Breeden, Lorie Stolp and Librarian Diane Dedon to left.
 Taylors Falls Library Board and Librarian accepted the $100,000 donation-- with Bob Wilberg representing the family. Pictured, from right, Board members Marlys Breeden, Lorie Stolp and Librarian Diane Dedon to left.

The Taylors Falls City Council was all smiles Monday night this week voting to officially accept a $100,000 gift left to the Taylors Falls Library to honor the selfless services of a longtime librarian.  The city council extended the city’s effusive gratitude to the family of Gloria and Charles Wilberg, who donated the money through a trust with the St Paul Foundation.  

Gloria’s mother Luella Nelson was involved in the independent municipal library from about 1953 to 1972, according to the current librarian Diane Dedon.  She and two members of the library Board, Marlys Breeden and Lorie Stolp attended the council meeting,  to accept the signed check. Bob Wilberg was also on hand.

Dedon told council members that the library committee has always been so pleased with the support the city gave during times when merging the quaint self-sustaining library into the regional library system was contemplated,  but rejected.

Mayor Mike Buchite said he got a letter describing the Wilberg’s Trust gift from a law firm. Letters from lawyers “...scare the daylights out of me usually,” he joked.  He called Dedon and read it aloud and it took them both a few moments to get over the shock.  Then,  library board members learned about the gift.

The Library Board will control its use and will make recommendations to council, but Buchite said expenditure will be up to the Board.   Use of the money is still being discussed.  The $100,000 is deposited into the library building fund and cannot  be spent on wages or personnel, etc and definitely not anything “political” the bequest stated.

Bob Wilberg explained how the library had been very important to his family and they’d be thrilled this was being presented to Taylors Falls.  “Mom always spoke of all the things Luella did,” he said.

Council member Ross Rivard commented that, at times it’s been hard to come up with adequate funds to keep the Victorian library building in shape and make modernizations when needed.

Council member John Tangen observed that this generous donation “...shows faith in smalltown America.”
Larry Julik Heine called it a “beautiful thing” and Mary Jo Murphy, last to speak,  stressed how grateful the city is and echoed all the council comments.

In other business, council agreed to survey the city-owned lot downtown to make it more easily marketable. Council member Murphy, who sits on the Economic Development Commission, said the parcel would have to be surveyed anyway if a buyer came along, so this is helpful to the development process.  The survey quote was from Widseth Smith Nolting for $3,500.

~ Paul Stenger, new public works staff member, came off probationary status six months early,  with glowing comments from council about his work. He also gets a $1 an hour (budgeted) pay hike with the action.
~ The council hired three seasonal employees for public works, all within budget.

~ “Seal Coating” will wait another month.  Council member Rivard said the public works/streets committee wants to look at options to the maintenance process quoted. He said he has seen it in use elsewhere and he not impressed.
~ Meanwhile, bids will be sought for three streets to be re-paved.  Folsom, Pine and Colby are on the list this year.  Depending on costs that are submitted one or more may be deleted.

~ The sewer lines throughout town will be inspected using a tiny videocamera.  Visu-Sewer had the low quote at $1.46 per linear foot for $41,800.


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