Library Moves Toward Total Solar


The Fort Myers Beach Library Board approved the preparation and issuance of a Competitive Negotiation Package request that would include the services of an engineer, fabricator and artist to begin the expansion of the solar program to provide electricity to the library.

The Beach Library has set aside $744,000 toward a Total Solar Project whose aim is to provide all the power the library uses. Currently the library uses rooftop solar panels to supplement their electricity needs, though FPL does not provide information on how much power they deliver to the library.

When renovations were done, the Library Board emphasized reducing the energy footprint of the library and Director Leroy Hommerding has long encouraged taking the steps needed to become energy independent. While the board has waited for technology to advance to provide options for solar panels, they have put funds aside for the project. Discussed so far has been some version of solar trees plus panels on the east wall of the building. The exact configuration won’t be known until after consultation with an engineer, artist and solar panel fabricator. Hommerding explained that he hopes for the tree to have some similarity to the artificial gumbo limbo tree located inside the library now in the children’s area.

Board Attorney Anne Dalton explained that if the board expected to purchase professional engineering services that exceed $35,000 or begin a project that exceeds $300,000, state law requires that they issue a competitive negotiation package. They can add the artist and fabricator aspects to the package, but the engineering aspect of it must be done this way. After discussion, the board voted unanimously 5-0 (two seats are vacant due to resignations) to have Dalton work with Hommerding to research and create a competitive negotiation package and advertise it to engineers for 60 days.

After the meeting Hommerding said that current electrical costs for the library are about $30,000 annually.

Budget Hearings for the Beach Library will be held Monday, September 12, 2016 at 5:00 pm and Tuesday, September 27, 2016 at 5:30pm, prior to their regular board meeting at 6:30pm that evening.

During Director Comments, Chair Sallie Seabury noted that following qualifying week, just three candidates had qualified for the three seats up for election, so she and Miffie Greer would continue as directors, joined by Rick Sebastian.

The next Library Board meeting will be Tuesday, July 26, 2016 at 6:30pm at Beach Library, 2755 Estero Blvd. The board does not meet in August.


Missy Layfield