Mayor David Baker

Semmes Library: The Back Story

Back Story on the Semmes Library

The very day that the Semmes Library situation was placed on Mayor Baker’s desk we went into high gear on researching the problem, getting expert input, and studying the City’s financial trends and prospects. From the beginning there was no question that the Semmes Library had to be preserved as the center of Semmes, its home put on a permanent and financially sustainable basis. The first thing we did was to enlist the advice, pro bono, of outside experts. We did a library walkthrough inspection with an architect, another walkthrough with a commercial real estate expert.  Their consultations were purely personal contributions to the community – neither the architect nor the real estate expert will be involved in any future developments with the Library, unless on a pro bono basis.  We got other local input and researched the real estate market. An internal management review of City operations was already underway and a reorganization plan to increase operational effectiveness while cutting $300,000 a year in waste was being put into effect.

Commissioner Connie Hudson

MESSAGE FROM COMMISSIONER CONNIE HUDSON Semmes Public Library Update

MESSAGE FROM COMMISSIONER CONNIE HUDSON

Semmes Public Library Update

The future of the Semmes Public Library housed in the CVS Health owned building at 9150 Moffett Road has been an issue for over two months now (Click Here to view the previous Semmes Library update in the March 17, 2017 District 2 e-newsletter). Negotiations have been on-going between Mobile County and CVS to reach consensus on an acceptable purchase offer or a new reduced-rent lease agreement. The current library lease expires on September 30, 2017 and CVS has been given legal notice that the county will not renew the lease under the present terms.

In recent weeks, discussions reached a point where CVS agreed to accept a reduced rental fee of $5,000 per month (approximately half of the current rate) but would not sell the property for five years and would not agree to apply the rent paid during that period toward the purchase price.  Last week, the county received notification from CVS that they would agree to sell the property immediately and would entertain a purchase offer of $1.3 million (the appraised purchase value according to David Bell of M.D. Bell Co., Inc.). To address the fairness issue raised by my fellow commissioners in regard to the overall funding allocation received by the Semmes Public Library from the County relative to other county libraries; while also recognizing the fact that the Semmes Library is a large regional library serving thousands of citizens in the western area of the county, I am proposing the following agreement between the Mobile County Commission and the City of Semmes:

Mobile County will continue indefinitely allocating $162,000 per year in Semmes Library operational funding, and for a two-year period will also pay all water/sewer and electrical costs (approximately $30,000 per year) for the library.

Howard Smith, Council Member & Mayor Pro Tempore howardsmith@cityofsemmes.org 251-605-0665 Place 2

That is Good News!

The County Commission will not renew the Semmes Branch Library lease as is? That is Good News! Notice the Commissioner’s words: “as-is.”

They are doing the right thing. The CVS lease option should not be picked up “as-is.”

The lease option raises the price to around 130% of what it should be, according to real estate experts we have consulted. It must be rejected before negotiations can begin on a new and better lease.

Another Semmes Political Puzzle

Another Semmes Political Puzzle

The City Of Semmes seems to have considerably more than its fair share of political puzzles to solve. Case in point is the surprise request by Mobile County Commissioner Connie Hudson asking Mayor David Baker of Semmes to rescue her, since she indicated she could not provide support for the Semmes Library. The word obtained by Talk Of Semmes from informed sources is that Semmes City Hall went into intense behind-the-scenes efforts to obtain expert counsel about the library situation. With that information in hand, and upon legal advice, Mayor Baker addressed the Mobile County Commissioners with a written communication. Mayor Baker’s reply is published below in its entirety – please read the response for yourself and see if you agree that the mayor has made an attempt to explain to Commissioner Hudson where the responsibility for survival of the library lies.