The recent decision by the Hardin County Library Board of Trustees to permanently close the Radcliff Branch isn’t positive news.

Combine this with the recent closing of the Radcliff office of the county clerk, the driver’s license renewal facility and finally the chamber of commerce and we have a clear sense of where we stand as a community. Each of these decisions made by different entities definitely have hurt our community.

It’s time to draw the line.

The Library Board currently is allocated $87,000 per month by Hardin Fiscal Court and asked to operate the main branch, a Radcliff Branch and a bookmobile in Hardin County with these funds.

In a meeting I attended 18 months ago, the librarian, speaking on behalf of the Board of Trustees, proclaimed that $1 million a year just isn’t enough for us to have a library system that is “competitive” with others in the state. She requested Fiscal Court authorize the Library Board of Trustees to go straight to the residents’ pockets and tax them to get this additional funding.

Hardin Fiscal Court rejected the independent taxing authority application and today we see what a wise choice that was. The very library board and librarian that would have access to this independent taxing authority is the same panel that has refused to even return the call of our city and community leaders as they attempt collaboration of continued library operations.

The Radcliff Branch library now is closed and likely will not reopen until structural changes are made in leadership there, but there is something we can do to make sure this topic stays “top of mind” until these structural changes are made. Read on.

I have asked Toshie Murrell, vice president of the Radcliff Small Business Alliance and an experienced event coordinator, to establish an awareness campaign focused on this issue. Her team’s efforts, coupled with that of the dedicated members of the Radcliff Women’s Club initiative to submit an open records request to the Hardin County Library of Trustees, will contribute to this awareness campaign.

In closing, thanks to everyone who has offered input on this topic and for your continued support of the Radcliff and Vine Grove Communities, both economically and in community spirit.

T.W. Shortt, a local businessman and former member of Radcliff City Council, is president of the Radcliff Small Business Alliance. He can be reached at twshortt@gmail.com.

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