Southwest Public Libraries asking for renewal levy

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By Christine Bryant
Staff Writer

The November election may be just days away, but Southwest Public Libraries is already planning for next March when it plans to put a 1-mill renewal levy on the spring ballot.

The current levy that it will replace, which expires at the end of 2020, generates $2.5 million annually and represents approximately 40 percent of the library’s budget, said Mark Shaw, director of Southwest Public Libraries.

A renewal means property owners in the communities the library system serves would see no tax increase. Per $100,000 property valuation, homeowners would continue paying $31.05 per year, or $2.58 per month, until the 10-year levy expires.

The library’s district includes four townships in southwestern Franklin County: Jackson Township (Grove City and Urbancrest), Prairie Township (Lincoln Village, Galloway and the Westland area), Pleasant Township (Harrisburg and Darbydale) and Franklin Township.

If approved, funds generated by the levy would go toward the operation of the library to pay for materials, building maintenance and operations, as well as library programs, Shaw said.

“We think renewal of the 1-mill levy represents a great bargain for the communities we serve, and gives them access to millions of items through our partnership with other libraries, access to meeting rooms, access to quiet study space, access to free internet and access to programming for all ages,” he said.

Shaw says the library system’s board of trustees opted for a straight renewal to avoid increasing taxes on the district’s taxpayers. If voters do not approve the 1-mill levy renewal, Shaw says tough decisions will lie ahead.

“Since the levy represents 40 percent of the library’s budget, the loss of such a large chunk of funding would mean deep and damaging budget cuts,” he said. “But we believe we have been good stewards of the public’s money and that the community will see that and vote to renew the levy.”

The Ohio Primary date in the spring is set for March 17, 2020. Property owners can determine how much they pay for the current 1-mill library tax by going to apps.franklincountyauditor.com/LevyEstimator and entering their address. Because it is a renewal, the annual amount will remain the same if voters approve the spring levy.

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