Sterling library levy fails; voters favor MRDD levy

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While candidates for various races nabbed the spotlight in the March 4 primary election, two local issues also were on the ballot. One failed and one passed.

Mount Sterling Library Levy Fails

For the second time, the majority of voters said "no" to the Mount Sterling Public Library Board’s request for ad-ditional operating funds. A total of 1,479 (64.25 percent) voters in the library’s service area cast ballots against the issue; 823 (35.75 percent) voted in favor of the issue. The same request failed in November 2007.

The 1-mill, 10-year tax levy would have generated $165,000 per year. The cost to the owner of a $100,000 home would have been $30 per year.

"For right now, the cuts we made in February will probably still be made," said Library Director Heidi Fletcher.

Those cuts included decreases in operating hours and material purchases, as well as elimination of the summer and school-year page programs.

If fully implemented, the cuts will amount to $30,000 this year and represent more than 10 percent of the library’s budget, all of which comes from the state. The library’s annual budget is $231,000. That budget amount could decrease by 2 percent to 3 percent with implementation of Gov. Ted Strickland’s tax breaks for military veterans, Fletcher said, citing projections from the Ohio Library Council.

"Whether or not we try a levy again in November will be discussed at the library board’s next meeting," Fletcher said.

The board will meet at 6:30 p.m. March 13 at the library.

MR/DD Levy Passes

Voters favored the levy request from the Madison County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (MR/DD). The tally was 5,972 votes (62.4 percent) for the levy and 3,598 votes (37.6 percent) against the levy.

"We’re just very pleased with the support we get from the county," said MR/DD Superintendent James E. Canney.

The 1-mill replacement levy will generate $832,042 annually for the next five years and cost the owner of a $100,000 home $30.63 per year. Previously, the levy generated $726,424 annually and cost the owner of a $100,000 home $27.26 per year. The replacement levy is based on current property valuations.

"The replacement levy allows us a little inflationary increase come 2009. It won’t allow us to add any new services, but it will help us keep up with rising costs," Canney said.

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