London Library asking for levy renewal with an increase

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(Posted July 1, 2015)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

This November, the London Public Library will ask voters to renew the library’s 1.2-mill operating levy with a 0.3-mill increase.

The 1.2-mill levy brings in $362,727 per year and costs property owners $35 to $39 per year per $100,000 of property valuation. The additional 0.3-mill would bring in an extra $96,099 per year and cost taxpayers an additional $10 per year per $100,000 valuation. The tax applies to property owners in the London City School District.

If passed, the funding would allow the library to begin restoring programs and services that were cut during the recession, as well as add new ones.

“We wanted to keep the increase to a minimum while affording the library the opportunity to move forward on services to the community,” said Mike Hensel, library director.

Over the last several months, library leaders surveyed the community and collected staff input to put together a strategic plan. If the levy passes, one of the main initiatives is to restore Sunday and extended fall hours. Also on the radar is an increase in youth and adult programming, more technology literacy classes, and more digital services, such as online media streaming and language learning services.

With the levy’s passage, the library also would look at more programming and materials for at-risk students, early literacy, and adult education endeavors, as well as determine the feasibility of renovating or expanding the children’s area.

“We want to do all of these things, but we also want to make sure we keep our current level of service,” Hensel said.

The library has lost $107,000 to $136,000 annually in state funding since 2008 and anticipates additional losses this year when the state completely phases out reimbursement of tangible personal property taxes.

“In 2014, the state funded Ohio’s libraries at the same rate it did in 1996. That’s made it very hard on a lot of library systems, including London,” Hensel said.

The library opted to ask for a renewal of its levy rather than a replacement so that homeowners would continue to receive the rollback break on the renewed portion of their property taxes. The renewal term is for five years.

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