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Elkins 'Under No Circumstances' Supports Library Expansion Exceeding $4 Million

John Null/WKMS

Calloway County judge-executive Larry Elkins has provided an update to the Murray State News on his opposition to current plans for the renovation and expansion of the Calloway County Public Library.

In the Q&A, Elkins says that “under no circumstances” would he support a library expansion that exceeds more than $4 million - an amount Elkins says the library taxing district will have generated by the end of this year.

At its most recent meeting, the library board was presented a $5.3 million estimate that would double the library’s square footage. That estimate would bring the library up to standards set by the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives and is the minimum amount being considered for expansion, according to acting board president Ryan Alessi. The judge-executive has no authority over the library board’s ultimate decision.

Elkins stated in the Q&A that he's not opposed to a library expansion, but said that the $7.6 million and $5.3 million estimates the board has heard are unacceptable. He said that existing resources at Murray State University's Waterfield Library should be factored into any equations for expansion.

The five-term judge-executive also called the dialogue with library supporters “more venomous” than past disagreements with county residents. He also said he will appoint new library board members when he is "forced to choose" or until he can get to know the four candidates better. Those candidates were sent to him for appointment after the board’s May meeting. The five-member board, which next meets on October 12, is currently operating with four members.

Elkins declined a phone interview Wednesday. For the full Q&A with Elkins, click here.

This story has been updated.

John Null is the host and creator of Left of the Dial. From 2013-2016, he also served as a reporter in the WKMS newsroom.
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