Library goes back to ballot for third time in a year
Pataskala Public Library Director and Fiscal Officer Jeff Rothweiler hopes the third time's the charm for a levy request.
The library received approval Aug. 7 from the Southwest Licking school board to place a five-year, 0.5-mill renewal levy request on the Nov. 6 ballot. The board voted 5-0 to approve the levy request.
"We know how important this library is to the community," school board President Don Huber said.
Two previous levy requests have been rejected by voters in the Southwest Licking School District.
On March 6, a combined five-year, 0.5-mill renewal levy and 0.25-mill increase was defeated 2,370 votes to 2,065. The same levy request was defeated Nov. 8 by a count of 3,880 votes to 3,692. The levy would have cost property owners $22.96 annually per $100,000 of assessed property valuation and generated $432,750 for the library.
This time, the library is requesting only the 0.5-mill renewal, which would generate $278,270 and would cost $15.30 annually per $100,000 of assessed property valuation.
"There will be no increase in the amount of taxes," Rothweiler said.
The revenue will be used for the operation of the library, he said.
"If the levy fails, we will lose 35 percent of our operating revenue and need to make significant cuts to our services," Rothweiler said.
He said public service hours would decrease by 11 to12 hours per week, or 600 hours annually; the library currently is open 58 hours per week.
He said the library's new materials budget for books, DVDs, CDs and other materials would be cut by 65 percent if the levy request is rejected
"The next state budget will be adopted in July 2013 and we will not be able to absorb any further state cuts," Rothweiler said. "The passage of this levy will allow us to provide the same level of service that we have provided to the community for the past 75 years."
Budget constraints forced the library to close Saturdays through the summer. A library representative said it will reopen Saturdays beginning Sept. 1.
Rothweiler said previously that since the passage of the Pataskala library's 0.5-mill levy in 2007, it has seen a decrease in state funding by 24 percent, or $144,000.
"The 2007 levy has allowed us to maintain the same level of services the past five years while absorbing this reduction in funding," he said. "The residents of the Southwest Licking School District have graciously supported us with tax dollars these past five years and we hope to continue to move forward serving the community to the best of our abilities."