Licking County News

Pataskala voters

Library requests renewal levy, no new millage

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The Pataskala Public Library will ask voters in the Southwest Licking School District on Nov. 6 to renew its 0.5-mill, five-year levy with no additional millage.

If approved, the renewed levy would generate about $280,000, which is approximately 35 percent of the library's $780,000 budget, according to library director Jeff Rothweiler. The rest comes from the state, which has cut 30 percent of the library's funding in the past five years.

The levy would cost about $15.30 annually per $100,000 of assessed property valuation.

"The voters came out twice and said they didn't want to pay more taxes, which makes sense with the local economy," Rothweiler said. "This won't increase the tax burden to the homeowners in our tax district."

Two previous levy requests -- both asking for additional millage -- were rejected by local voters.

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 last November 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.

The five-year levy approved in 2007 expires at the end of the year. Rothweiler said with money from that levy, the library renovated the building by adding new carpet, lighting and shelves, painting walls and upgrading the heating and cooling system. The library also added e-books and wireless Internet service.

"We are fortunate that the voters supported us five years ago to help us maintain services to the community through the state cuts," Rothweiler said.

Rothweiler said the library has reduced staffing from 17 to 14 in the past two years by not replacing departing employees. The library also uses volunteers to shelve books, organize the shelves and clean the facility.

To save money this year, the library was closed on Saturdays from June through August.

Rothweiler said if the Nov. 6 levy fails, reserve funds will only go so far.

"Moving forward, if the levy doesn't pass, we'll certainly have to cut services and materials to balance the budget," he said.

He said operating hours might be cut if the levy is not approved.

ThisWeek is unaware of any organized opposition to the levy.

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