By Rick Palsgrove
Voters on Nov. 7 will decide on a 1.5-mill additional continuing levy (without expiration) for the Columbus Metropolitan Library.
According to library officials, if the levy is approved, the resulting tax would generate $39 million during the first year of collection. It would generate $53 for $100,000 property value per year.
The Columbus Metropolitan Library is funded by two primary sources: the state of Ohio’s Public Library Fund and voter-approved local property tax levy.
“In 2010, Franklin County voters approved a 2.8-mill continuing property tax levy,” said Ben Zenitsky, communications specialist for the Columbus Metropolitan Library. “This levy will stay in place as it doesn’t expire. As property valuations increase during triennial updates and reappraisal periods, Columbus Metropolitan Library does not receive additional property tax revenue. Instead, the voted millage is reduced in order to generate the same amount of tax revenue for Columbus Metropolitan Library as approved by voters in 2010.”
Zenitsky said that in 2023, the Columbus Metropolitan Library’s 2010 2.8-mill levy now collects at an effective rate of 2.18 mills. As property values have risen over the last 13 years, the millage has been reduced to the 2.18 effective rate. Income from the 2010 levy has increased an average of 0.4 percent per year since the first year of collection in 2011.
“The levy will fund operating expenses for continued investments in materials, resources, technology, programs and facilities,” said Zenitsky. “Like other organizations, the cost to operate 24 buildings and serve nearly one million residents increases over time as materials, supplies, utilities, wages and other necessary operational costs increase each year. The income from the library’s 2010 levy has increased an average of 0.4 percent per year since the first year of collection in 2011. New revenue ensures that the library can sustain operations and avoid a financial deficit.”
The Columbus Metropolitan Library is a county district library system serving the residents of Franklin County, except for those residents who reside in the service areas of the other six library systems within the county (Bexley, Upper Arlington, Grandview, Southwest, Worthington and Westerville). Residents of the Columbus Metropolitan Library district will vote on the levy.
If voters reject the levy, library officials said the library system’s board of trustees “will assess the budget implications and consider necessary cost reduction measures to prevent a financial deficit.”