GREENSBURG -- Inside the south side of the Greensburg-Decatur County Public Library, a missing ceiling tile reveals a plastic bag whose top edge has been taped to the bottom of the roof to capture water dripping in through a leak.
The water streaks down the plastic bag and, at the bottom, enters a hose that drains and discards the water.
The missing tile is a few feet above a shelf that contains the library’s selection of cooking-related materials, which include “Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art,” “The Glory of Southern Cooking;” and “Bon Appetit, y’all,” — but the leaks and other roofing problems have left a rather bitter taste in the mouths of library officials.
The library, located at 1110 E. Main St., was built 20 years ago for about $3.6 million, but its roof in recent years has developed problems that have required significant repairs, costing library officials at least $46,000 since 2008.
Both Library Director Andrea Ingmire and a consultant worry that the continual leaks ultimately may cause structural damage to the building itself. Some leaks had damaged some of the wooden trusses in the library’s walls before they were repaired last year.
Ingmire received the go-ahead recently from Greensburg City Council to pursue replacing the roof. She had said the roof would cost no more than $700,000, and that only the library — not the City Council — would be responsible for making the bond payments.
The need for the roof is arising at a time when the library is making its last payment on the building, which means taxpayers should see little, if any, impact on the library portion of their property tax bills, according to library officials.
Ingmire said that, through last year, the library had been making two annual payments of about $100,000 each to pay off the library bond. This year, the library will make a single, final payment of $100,000 on the bond. Starting in 2015, the roof bond will require an annual bond payment of a similar amount. That bond is expected to be paid within eight or nine years.