PREBLE COUNTY — Preble County voters passed the 1-mill property tax renewal for the Preble County District Library when voters went to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
“A lot of people that work at the library don’t do it because it’s a job. They do it because the library is something important to them just as an institution,” said Mike Zimmerman, the marketing coordinator for the PCDL. “I think the results are just a testament to how much everyone who works there really cares about what the library really does.”
The levy passed – perhaps surprisingly – by a landslide, with nearly 70 percent of voters in favor of the renewal. This comes after an especially tough year for farmers because of the increase in agricultural taxes.
“It’s amazing the percentage of what it passed by,” said Zimmerman. “This means so much to the library of what we can continue providing to all of the citizens in all of our locations. In a lot of locations, the library is the only place that people have to go.”
The new levy will cost residents $2.91 per month per $100,000 of assessed property value. The funds provided to the library from this renewal will total around 42 percent of the library’s current budget.
This renewal in funding will allow the PCDL to continue several services, such as eBooks, digital magazines, tech classes, STEM education, and home school classes – which see around 30 students per month at meetings – as well as computer upgrades. They can also continue popular programs such as the eight through 12-year old film making class, their genealogy room, and a work station for the blind.
The decision comes after continued decreases in state funding to local libraries, with budget cuts nearing $400,000 since 2000.
“Some people say it’s a bad thing that the state has balanced its budget on the backs of taking away local government funds and public library funds, but it really doesn’t place an extra burden on local taxpayers. It really lets them choose the services they want,” said Zimmerman. “Passing by this margin just lets us know that the library is very important and that we have to continue doing what we are doing as well as continue to improve.”
Jeremy can be reached at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH.