Library patrons in Eldersburg may have to wait a few more years before the county builds an addition to the cramped branch on Liberty Road.
Carroll County commissioners reached a consensus yesterday during a capital budget workshop to delay any library and senior center expansion until the 1999 budget. They also agreed to channel money to more urgent needs such as road repairs.
Commissioner Julia W. Gouge said if road repairs were neglected, the cost would climb at a higher rate than would the cost of adding to a building.
"It might cost a few more dollars for an expansion project, but if a road collapses, you have to spend money to rebuild it from the bottom up," Mrs. Gouge said.
Commissioners Donald I. Dell and Elmer C. Lippy agreed that Carroll has more pressing needs than the $894,600 expansion of the Eldersburg branch of the Carroll County Public Library and the $320,000 expansion of the Taneytown Senior Center.
News of delaying the Taneytown expansion was neither new nor disturbing to Jolene Sullivan, director of citizen services for the county.
"We asked for the addition of 2,100 square feet within next [the] couple of years simply because the enrollment has grown significantly," she said.
But she agreed the county has other priorities for the money.
"I think we're going to be able to make do for a few years," she said. "If the seniors there get too crowded, we may have to go back to the commissioners."
News that the library expansion is being delayed was disappointing, said Scott Reinhart, assistant director of the Carroll County Public Library.
"We really need the space. It's really crowded. I know the library's position is we really need the space, and the Eldersburg and Sykesville area really needs the service," he said.
He said the commissioners have been generous to the library as it moves forward technologically, however.
"They have to balance many competing priorities," Mr. Reinhart said.
In the meantime, he said, "The patrons have been very patient at the Eldersburg branch."
The Eldersburg branch takes up 15,000 square feet in a building it shares with the Carroll County Health Department and the state police.
The proposal for the Eldersburg expansion was to get $55,000 for the 1994-1995 budget year for planning, and $894,600 for construction the following year to build a 5,000-square-foot addition out toward Liberty Road.
Mr. Reinhart said the long-term plan also was that when the health department moves out, the library would take over the 5,000 square feet it vacates.