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Petition demands reviewed library deal

Differences in philosophies continue as a petition regarding the sale of the library and town office’s relocation circulates in town.

Differences in philosophies continue as a petition regarding the sale of the library and town office’s relocation circulates in town.

Rimbey’s Reuben Geibelhaus, who wrote the first letter to the editor regarding the situation, published in the Dec. 8 issue of the Rimbey Review, is working hard with the petition, advocating against the decisions town council has made.

“I guess some people call me the guilty one. I’m definitely involved,” said Geibelhaus.

In his letter, and in every meeting he’s had with town council and individual councillors, Geibelhaus emphasizes he isn’t condemning the library, he is questioning the decisions and actions of the council.

In his letter Geibelhaus suggested council hold a public forum before they go ahead with their decisions. “Had they done what I suggested in there maybe this wouldn’t have happened.”

The petition is calling for the sale of the building to be delayed and a referendum held. It’s also against selling the town office, “a valuable asset,” for $1.

“To me, and to a lot of people it doesn’t make economic sense.”

Geibelhaus feels that, even though the town would be leasing their new office and some expenses to taxpayers would be eliminated because the library board would be responsible for the upkeep of the building, the taxpayers will still be carrying the weight of its upkeep.

“The sad part of it is where does the library get its money from? The requisitions they put in for money,” said Geibelhaus. “Us taxpayers, in a round-about way, are still paying for the upkeep of the building.”

With the petition, and the resulting referendum, Geibelhaus wants townspeople to be given the opportunity to determine whether or not council should go ahead with their plans. “That way you (council) can go to bed at night and sleep with a clear conscience.”

“This is too big of a decision for four people to make. The taxpayers of Rimbey own that building. Somebody has to speak up,” he added.

By March 15 the petition needs 240 signatures. Geibelhaus believes the 10 people working on the petition have gathered approximately 200. “All of them have said they’ve had little resistance with people opposed to what we’re doing.”

Although Mayor Sheldon Ibbotson hasn’t seen the petition or its exact wording, he’s open to the idea that people have the right to express their opinions. “If they come in with a valid petition I’m totally open to it.”

“I have been thinking about the petition. If the petition is successful council will review the wording and the rules regarding petitions and decide how to proceed,” he added.

While he plans to follow the legal process of a petition, Ibbotson is surprised it’s what the situation has come to “because it seems clear to me this is a basic difference in philosophy.”

“I think it’s their right, and they’re totally within their rights to do it,” he added. However, Ibbotson does stand in disagreement with Geibelhaus on several points.

“The facts they’re using are inaccurate. He is against programming and he is against services.”

Ibbotson feels the municipality should be supporting council’s decisions because they’re working to provide more services to the town for less cost.