Mt. Sterling Library seeks levy renewal with increase

(Posted April 4, 2022)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Mount Sterling Public Library is on the May 3 primary election ballot with a levy request for operating expenses.

The library is seeking a five-year renewal of its 0.4-mill tax levy with an increase of 0.1 mills for a total of 0.5 mills. The levy applies to residents of Pleasant Township and the village of Mount Sterling.

Currently, the levy generates $30,470 per year and costs the taxpayer $12.95 per year per $100,000 of property valuation. If renewed with the increase, the levy would generate an estimated $38,583 per year and cost the taxpayer $16.45 per year per $100,000 of property valuation.

The current levy represents 12.47 percent of the library’s revenues. The library’s other sources of revenue are the government library fund and donations. The library is asking for the 0.1-mill increase primarily to keep up with the cost of materials.

“We increased our book budget from $13,500 in 2021 to $16,200 in 2022, but that is still buying us about the same amount of materials because costs have gone up so much,” said Steve Brindza, library director.

As an example, he noted that hardback books used to cost $23-$24. Now, they cost about $29-$30.

“The increase in material cost is something that every single library and book buyer is facing. These are things there’s no getting around, unfortunately,” Brindza said.

Brindza said he and his staff constantly look for ways to save money on operating costs, such as buying in bulk, watching for bundle deals, and locking in utility costs.

“We don’t waste. We don’t spend on the fly. Everything is judiciously done,” he said, adding that the requested increase in millage would “really help,” and the additional cost to the taxpayer would be small – an additional $3.50 per year per $100,000 of property valuation.

Brindza said the library strives to be a one-stop place for patrons’ needs–whether it’s books, DVDs, resource recommendations, storytimes, programming, or copies and faxes. The staff is gearing up for its summer reading program which will include special events, performers, and prizes. The bookmobile is back in action for the season.

“We are always working to bolster our collection, keep our shelves very full, and do as much outreach as we can,” Brindza said. “We have a great staff… They are fixtures in the community.”

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