Some residents may be charged to use Lake Co. library



LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Lake County's budget is so tight that the county may start charging some people to use the Cagan Crossings Library, which is located south of Clermont.

Pam Dixon said she believes the library should be for everybody.   

"I don't like the idea that I'm paying for it and nobody else is," said Dixon.

The building sits one mile from the Polk County line. 

Lake County taxpayers covered the $4 million to build it, but Polk County taxpayers contribute $200,000 a year to help operate it because 40 percent of the patrons live in Polk County.

"This is the closest library to where I live.  For me to come here is much easier than to go all the way to Haines City," said Polk County resident Angela Bashaw.

But Polk County officials are on the verge of backing out of the financial arrangement and have offered Lake County a deal linked to a new park that was just built along the border.

Lake County residents will be allowed to use the new ball fields if the county will allow Polk County residents to use the library, and call it even.

However, that deal did not sit well with Lake County commissioners.

"Then, I would suggest that we not have a reciprocal agreement with them, and let their residents pay to use our library, and let's see how they like that," said Welton Cadwell of the Lake County Commission. 

Library patron Priscilla Baez said she doesn't like the hardball tactics.  She believes Polk County residents have a right to go to the library, and she's a Lake County resident.

"The library is public and free.  It should be open to everybody," said Baez.

Lake County pays $326,000 a year to help run the library, and without Polk County's share officials said they'd have to cut hours and staff.