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Lake Wales
Monday, March 4, 2024

Finally! The Lake Wales Public Library Can Now Set Its Own Rental Rates for Its Meeting Room!

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by James Coulter

Who has the authority to set the rental rates for the meeting room in the Lake Wales Public Library? One would assume it would be the library director. However, until now, that authority went to the city commission.

At their recent meeting on Tuesday evening, Lake Wales City Commissioners unanimously passed an ordinance that granted the library director the authority to set the rental rates for the Schoenoff Meeting Room at the Lake Wales Public Library.

Previously, the rental rates were determined using a table under Chapter 18, Section 1 of the Lake Wales Code of Ordinances. The previous rates were $60 for the first hour and $18 for each additional hour, excluding library-sponsored events and events by non-profit organizations.

However, as the city memo for the ordinance explained, the city staff “has found that the current room reservation rates for the Schoenoff Meeting Room at the Lake Wales Public Library are currently too high. Staff proposed a reduction in the rate.”

During a previous work session, the City Commission members determined that the authority for setting rental and reservation rates for the meeting room should go toward the library and not the City Commission.

Furthermore, the ordinance would permit “the schedule of fees established by this section [to] be adjusted annually to reflect an increase based on June’s annual CPI or two and one-half (2.5%) percent, whichever is greater, without further need for Commission action.”

City Commissioner Robin Gibson expressed his initial surprise that the city library was not responsible for setting the rental rates of its own meeting room.

“I want to make sure they have the opportunity to make full use of the facility,” he said. “What struck me is that they left that up to the city commission in the past, and they [the commission] never used it. So, it speaks of the wisdom of us. And it is obvious that it should be in their [the library’s] hands, and market forces will utilize the property.”

City Commissioner made a motion and a second to pass the ordinance, and the motion passed with a unanimous vote.

To learn more about the Lake Wales Public Library and the availability of its meeting room for events, visit their website at: https://www.cityoflakewales.com/976/Library

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