The Statham City Council unanimously approved accepting a $135,000 grant to the Statham Public Library for an expansion project Tuesday night.

However, the council did not deal with the question of moving the city police department, which would be required for expanding the library.

Council member Perry Barton suggested at the work session last week that the police could move into the city hall building and city offices could move into a house on the corner of Broad and Jefferson streets. Mayor Robert Bridges said the house is “very close” to being ready for occupancy.

Council member Dwight McCormic objected to moving the city offices into that house. He said at the work session that a number of questions should be answered before any move occurs.

McCormic said the way the house was purchased, the price that was paid and the money spent on it should be discussed.

He said “different sentiments” exist in town about the house.

The city bought the house for $65,000 and has renovated it with city employees and prison inmates. McCormic complained about the house before he was elected to the council, attending several meetings and asking about the finances.

He said the house could be sold and the profits used for a move. Bridges said that would be fine with him.

Beth McIntyre, director of the Piedmont Regional Library System, which serves Barrow, Jackson and Banks counties, told the council the grant is 90 percent paid by the state. The local match is 10 percent, she said.

“We’re using our space for much more than reading,” she said.

McIntyre said the grant is for “repurposing” the library and expansion fits in that.

Council member Eddie Jackson commented the city has some “issues” before the expansion can happen. Those “issues” were not discussed.

See more from Tuesday's meeting in the May 22 edition of the Barrow News-Journal.

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