School board supports library levy
“We need our libraries,” said Mindy Garverick.
“Government entities need to make due with what they have,” said Jo Ellen Myers.
This was part of the recent debate between South-Western City Schools board members over the levy request from Southwest Public Libraries.
The library board voted to place a 1-mill operating levy on the November ballot. This would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $30 per year or $2.55 a month.
Because the school board is the library’s taxing agent, they must vote on the issue as well.
All board members voted in favor of the levy, except Myers.
“When is enough, enough?” asked Myers.
Myers said there is already too much burden on taxpayers.
Southwest Public Libraries is one of the only library systems in central Ohio not supported by local tax dollars. It receives 95 percent of its budget from the state of Ohio, through the Public Library Fund.
Since 2001, SPL’s annual revenue has dropped from $4.5 million to about $3 million. In the past few years, the library has reduced its staff by 35 percent, cut hours and services and closed the Central Crossing Library branch. Library board members fear without added revenue, they may have to close either the Grove City Library or the Westland Area Library.
“People are in great need of library services,” said school board president Randy Reisling. “They have already closed one library; another one would be devastating to our community.”
Employees of Southwest Public Libraries have taken furloughs and not received a pay increase in 10 years.
School board member Karen Dover said she supports a library levy. She said the library has been frugal and residents without a job need library services and computers to find employment.
“The need is more critical now than ever,” said Dover.
Additional funds from a library levy would restore services that have been cut since 2001. The library would also extend hours and bring back educational programs.
Myers said the library is still funded by taxpayers, since it receives funds from the state, which taxes residents and business owners.
The board of education votes on the library levies and its annual budget because under Ohio law, the library is a school district public library. The library is not a taxing authority because its board members are appointed. The school board must also appoint library board members.