Though it was a short meeting, city commissioners extended the lease indefinitely for the Robert W. Willaford Railroad Museum, reappointed Library Board members and transferred approximately $99,628 to the newly formed Plant City Library Foundation.
It was one of the shortest commission meetings of the year this week as city commissioners went through the proclamations and approved everything on the agenda in under an hour.
One of the biggest events of the night was the approval of the transfer of approximately $99,628 from the Library Donation Fund to the newly formed Plant City Library Foundation.
In April 2018 Joe Barger, a former customer, left a bequest of $99,627.17 to the Bruton Memorial Library. The city took the money in and deposited it in the Library Donation Fund where it has sat ever since. It wasn’t until this year that the Plant City Library Foundation, Inc. was established and the time officially came for the city to transfer the money over so it can be put to its intended use.
“The vote simply took the money from the city’s accounts where we were holding it for the library and transferred the money over to the newly formed foundation, which allows them to administer it as it appears it was intended to be,” City Manager Bill McDaniel said. “Libraries are very unique, they have their board and their other things and this just, as I said, it puts the money where it’s intended to be and it puts it under a structure that is properly formed and chartered to manage this type of thing. Plus with a foundation they can solicit additional donations and requests and things like that.”
The foundation’s not-for-profit status was activated by the State of Florida on Feb. 7 and on March 12 it received its employer tax ID number, which means it should receive the tax exempt certificate within 180 days.
Once everything is up and rolling, there will be big things ahead for the library and the foundation will be able to truly pour into the community. The city said Barger loved not only the library itself, but also its staff and believes the foundation will be able to help use the gift to further his dedication to the priceless city amenity.
The same evening, commissioners also decided to reappoint three library board members, which is a separate group from the newly formed foundation. Michelle Monteleon, James Chancey Jr. and Darcy Stottlemyer wished to continue in their roles and were approved for an additional term of three years, beginning on July 1.
Commissioners also approved a slight alteration to the Robert W. Willaford Railroad Museum Society, Inc.’s lease. When the city commission approved a lease on Sept. 8, 2014 with the museum, it formalized the agreement between the parties and set the lease for one-year terms with four annual extensions.
Those extensions expire on July 31, 2019 and the city decided it was time to make the partnership even more permanent. The city said it has benefited from the arrangement and wishes to continue to have the museum in the heart of downtown.
To ease future renewals, the new lease has an indefinite term. Starting on Aug. 1, the museum can remain on the property indefinitely at the sole discretion of the city commission.
If commissioners decide to terminate the lease they may do so at any time as long as they provide 30 days’ notice. In the new agreement, the city will continue to provide all of the maintenance services for the depot property and structures.