Is The New North Natomas Library In Jeopardy?

Construction of the North Natomas Library currently under way is reportedly at risk due to lack of State funds.

The new library is being funded in part by a bond from the state of California. Currently, the state is not issuing any bonds which means the project is at risk of shutting down completely.

To shut down the project and restart it will reportedly cost an additional $2.5 million.

The city has the option to borrow the $5 million needed to move forward with construction from the North Natomas Finance Plan as a bridge loan.

The Sacramento City Council was scheduled to discuss this funding option earlier this week at its March 17 meeting, but according to Councilman Ray Tretheway’s office a small group of people and developer interests pulled it off the agenda and now advocate delaying library construction indefinitely.


  1. Anonymous says

    As part of the NNFP “working group” (although very limited) I don’t think it is fair of Ray T’s office to categorize our efforts as delaying the library construction indefinitely. The point is…why wasn’t the money ALL there to begin with and why should NATOMAS have to foot the bill out of our public safety monies, with no assurance of repayment?

    Once again, the City is sticking it to Natomas and now pointing the blame on us as well. Shame, shame.


  2. Anonymous says

    If the city does not step up and offer to complete this project, it will be apparent that we really live in a stupid city. The city just offered millions for a sluty bar and pizza joint on K street and have spent millions more on redevelopment projects with not much too show. At least a library will have some tangible results, making us smarter, thus realizing how lame our politics are. Wasn’t the money secured a long time ago for this site? Maybe they can use all the money in the N Natomas Finance Plan, before the city spends it.

  3. Angelique Ashby says

    There is more to the story than just a $5 million dollar loan out of the North Natomas Finance Plan.

    The City so far is unable to provide any assurance that the “loan” will be repaid. They are also unwilling to guarantee the loan.

    And until recently, because of pressure from the community, they were not even going to pay an interest on the “loan”. Now they are agreeing to a 3% rate.

    Also, the money would come from a very small pot of dollars that is needed to fund the fire station on the west side of I-5 amongst many other things that community members have been asking for, like a police sub station and a community center.

    It is not just about the library, which by the way was funded through a State bond that is currently not selling.

    It was always a reimbursement loan. The City was set to pay for construction out of the General Fund and be repaid by the State when the bonds sell.

    What they want now is the money from the North Natomas Finance Plan because they don’t want to risk possible non-payment from the State – borrowing the money would transfer that risk to the finance plan.

    The North Natomas Finance Plan is suppossed to have enough money in it to pay for a lot of needed infrastructure items for Natomas but the bottom line is that due to mismanagment at the City level over many years the plan is insufficently funded.

    The City will need to come up with money to pay for some portions of the plan that can’t be funded because of lack of dollars.

    The problem is that as everyone knows, the City is in financial trouble themselves and does not have the money to compensate this community for its losses.

    So the discussions about the $5 million stretch a lot farther than the discussion around paying to complete the library.

    It is a conversation that includes many projects and few dollars.


  4. Anybody care to offer why they started construction without a guarantee of funding? Seems like an odd decision. What happens if they have to stop? The half-built building just sits there like the TGI Friday’s?

  5. Angelique Ashby says

    Nancy – There are other ways the City can fund that building project.

    Taking the money from the NNFP is not the ONLY choice and in my opinion, not the best choice either.

    No one wants the library construction to stop.

    This is not about choosing the library over something else, it is about the City finding other revenue sources outside of the NNFP (which is grossly underfunded) to pay for the completion of the library.

    Not sure if you read my above post (and Trixie’s too) but it is important to note that the State bonds were to be paid to Sacramento on a reimbursement schedule to begin with… The only thing that has changed is that the State is not guaranteeing when they will pay that money back.

    The City is saying that without specific dates and reassurances they are not comfortable using general fund dollars to complete the library so they want Natomas to pay – and therefore transfer the risk of that loan from the City general funds to a much smaller and highly volatile Natomas fund.

    I would encourage you to write that letter you are talking about, BUT rather than suggesting that the City borrow from the finance plan you could just express to Ray K. your concern over a half completed facility. You could ask him to find a funding source that does not pass off the risk to Natomas and spend money earmarked for other Natomas projects.

    The library is important and so is its completion. We just need to be careful what we are willing to compromise to get it.

    Angelique Ashby, JD
    Creekside Neighborhood Association
    Natomas Crime & Safety Leadership

  6. Anonymous says

    May I also suggest letters to the editor at the Bee. Get the word out!

    The city found money for a $300,000 cattery and $50,000 art for the cattery but not a library? To quote someone else — STUPID SPENDING.

    The logic is the same as buying a big screen TV instead of milk for your kids. BAS

  7. Before we start writting letters, let’s wait for our community leaders to give us direction.

    I know Rosemarie and others, including Angelique, have spent many hours looking over the finance plan. Now is not the time to undermine their efforts with a letter writting campaign that has not been ok’d by our community leadership. It will only give the city ammunition to ignore those in leadership that have worked so hard to make it right when it comes to what is best for Natomas.

    Leadership, you need to give us some direction on this.


  8. This is disgusting to hear, libraries are a necessities to all. Just as someone mentioned they gave money for another floozy club. But I guess they would since these bring in money, who cares if people are stupid. Let’s all just get up and dance.

    I keep hearing about the shortage of money, but somehow the money still flowing. Just not to the things that matter the most.

    Build the library!!

  9. ” who cares if people are stupid. Let’s all just get up and dance.”

    Anon 11:22

    Makes a good title for a protest song. Any song writers out there?

  10. Keith Sharward says

    Angelique did a great job of detailing “the rest of the story” above.

    Indeed, there is much more to this than meets the eye.

    “To shut down the project and restart it will reportedly cost an additional $2.5 million.” We have yet to see a report detailing how this $2.5 million figure was reached. What is this based on? Is that figure credible?

    I appreciate there is a level of urgency associated with this loan request, but we are working diligently with the city to learn as much about this purported crisis… But before we allow the city to raid the North Natomas Finance Plan (NNFP) to meet fulfill its promise to bridge construction payments from the general fund (which we realize is in trouble), WE NEED ANSWERS:

    What is the $2.5 million estimate to suspend and restart construction actually based on? Is this due to a clause in the construction contract? (So far, all we have are oral statements from city staff with no credible citations.) Some have suggested that figure is EXTREMELY HIGH and that the actual amount is likely much lower than that.

    If indeed there are no other options whatsoever:

    Why take ALL $5 million out of the North Natomas Finance Plan? Why not spread the burden around other accounts the city has (just as the General Fund pays for services throughout the city)?

    Why take all $5 million out at once? Why not smaller amounts over a period of time?

    What happens if the state bond funds never flow?

    Why won’t the state guarantee the funds in writing?

    Why won’t the city guarantee the loan in writing?

    Folks, this is a very complicated issue, and what Natomas community leaders are doing is ensuring that we have full disclosure and assurance that as many options as possible are on the table for consideration. Otherwise, I guarantee you that City Hall would have already unapologetically robbed the NNFP piggy bank (Peter) to keep the library construction project (Paul) on track.

    Keith Sharward
    Co-Founder and Board Member, Witter Ranch Community Alliance
    Member, Natomas Crime & Safety Leadership Team
    Volunteer, Natomas Police & Community Resource Center

    P.S.: For the record, I have a family member who works for the library system and I am an adamant supporter of the library construction project — but I strongly object to further abuse to North Natomas Finance Plan. (That is my personal opinion. My library employee family member can speak for herself if she has a different point of view.)

  11. Karen Thomas says

    North Natomas needs to unite to get the library finished and get funding for other vital city services such as police and fire. Let’s work together. Stopping library construction now would be a lose-lose situation for us all.

  12. Angelique Ashby says

    Karen – I agree with you and I think we are on the same page.

    We all want the library and it is fine to apply pressure on the City to finish it.

    We just need to stick together in not allowing them to take the dollars from the NNFP without first exploring every possible option.

    You are right that it is not just about a library – it is also about a fire station, police sub station, community center and more…

    I would love to talk to you but the petition and letters you guys have posted need to be changed to reflect a request for an alternate funding source, not the NNFP.

    Then we can circulate them through the Yahoo groups reaching hundreds of neighbors.

    Please contact me:

    [email protected]

    Thank you,
    Angelique Ashby, JD
    Creekside Neighborhood Association
    Co Founder
    Natomas Crime & Safety Leadership Team

  13. Anonymous says

    As a resident of North Natomas, I am extremely disappointed to hear that the library is at risk of not being finished. We have enough problems in our region and now this! Where is Ray Tretheway and why is he not working to try to get this done for our community, without taking money from the NNFP?

Speak Your Mind