EATON — The Preble County District Library will attempt to renew a 1-mill property tax when voters go to polls on Tuesday, Nov. 3. The issue will be number 27 on the ballot.
According to Mike Zimmerman, marketing coordinator for the library, the levy is a straight renewal of the levy passed in 2010.
The levy, if renewed, will cost residents $2.91 per month per $100,000 of assessed property value, which according to Zimmerman totals to about 42 percent of the library’s current budget as funds received by the state continue to decline.
Zimmerman said the renewal will allow the library to continue to offer some of its more popular programs, like the eight-12-year-old film-making class.
According to Zimmerman, since 2010 the library has added several new services, including EBooks and digital magazines, tech classes, STEM education, green screens, IPads, home school classes — which have about 30 students attending monthly meetings — and computer upgrades.
Zimmerman also noted, the library is currently offering a genealogy room which is one of its most popular destinations and now offers a work station for the blind at the main branch.
According to Zimmerman, the situation will be “dire” if the levy is not renewed by voters.
“I can’t say for sure what will happen, all I can say is 42 percent of the budget is a lot,” he said.
Library officials, like many other entities, say a lack of state funding is a big reason they are going to local tax payers.
According to Zimmerman, in 2000 the state provided about $1.4 million to the Preble County District Library. By the year 2008, the funding was down to $1.08 million and was just $1.01 million last year.
“There is nothing you can do about state funding,” Zimmerman said, noting, local taxpayers are the ones picking up the burden. “It’s up to the local taxpayers to decided what services they want.”
Zimmerman expressed concerns about putting too much on local taxpayers, noting this year has been especially difficult on areas like Preble County where there are many farmers who have seen their taxes be raised by the state’s CAUV program.
Zimmerman hopes residents will choose to continue to support the library through the renewal, since no new tax will be added to the residents of Preble County if the renewal is passed.
“I really feel the library crosses boundaries,” Zimmerman said. “It is something everyone uses, it makes communities better. For some of our branches the library is the only place in the villages for kids to go after school.”
The Preble County District Library currently has eight branches in the county, including locations in Camden, Eldorado, New Paris, West Alexandria, West Elkton, West Manchester and the Preble County Room.
Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @aschmidt_RH.