Duchesne County commissioners last week voted to take over full operations and administration of the Roosevelt City/Duchesne County Library. The switch from the current joint city-county ownership of the library won't take place however, until January 1997.

Because the change will result in a higher library tax rate, it can't become official until truth in taxation hearings are held this spring in connection with the county's 1997 budget. It's too late to include the new financial arrangement in the county's 1996, explained Roosevelt city administrator Brad Hancock.Duchesne County raises close to $70,000 in revenue through the current library tax but would need to increase the tax rate in order to generate approximately $120,000 a year when the city is no longer involved in operations. The tax increase would fund satellite libraries within the county as well as the library in Roosevelt.

Roosevelt City leaders approached commissioners last month to request that the county take over full financial and operating responsibilities at the library. They based their proposal on a 3-year-old Utah law that requires cities to divest themselves of any interest in city-county run libraries. The law was enacted to eliminate the double taxation of city residents who were being taxed twice - once by the county and once by the city - for the same library services.

The divestment would also free up approximately $35,000 annually in revenue for Roosevelt which the city is planning to use to repay a Community Impact Board construction loan they will soon be applying for to build the proposed Crossroads Senior Community Center.

The extra year it will take before the change from joint operations to strictly county operation of the library isn't expected to be a detriment to plans to move ahead with the new senior center at this time, said Hancock.

"We wouldn't have to start paying back the loan until 1997 and maybe even as late as 1998 because the CIB doesn't require a payback until one year after the project is completed," he said.

Although the city has committed to repay the debt on the senior center, the facility will fall under the ownership of the Duchesne County Housing Authority.

Hancock says the CIB funding application for a $600,000 low-interest loan and a $600,000 grant will be submitted next month.

The CIB is expected to consider the request in February. If it wins approval, funds could be committed in March.

The proposed senior center would be built next to the Roosevelt City building, within walking distance for about 40 seniors and within one mile of about 200 seniors. The $1.5 million facility would be large enough to accommodate community events as well as programs and services for senior citizens.