Two operating levies could make their way to the May 5 ballot in Delaware County -- one for the county's library system and the other for a countywide siren warning system -- if county commissioners vote to put them on the ballot.

Two operating levies could make their way to the May 5 ballot in Delaware County -- one for the county's library system and the other for a countywide siren warning system -- if county commissioners vote to put them on the ballot.

At last Thursday's commissioners meeting, Mary Jane Santos, director of the Delaware County District Library, presented a resolution passed by her board of trustees asking for a one mill, 10-year levy.

If commissioners send the levy to the ballot and it is approved, it would be the first operating levy for the library in its 100-year history, Santos told the commissioners.

The levy would raise about $4.7-million a year and would cost the owner of a home valued at $100,000 for tax purposes an additional $30.60 a year, she told the commissioners.

The money would pay to build a new 30,000-square-foot branch library in Orange Township, expand hours of operation at the main library and in Ostrander, and renovate the branch in Powell.

It also would go toward replenishing the library's reserves, Santos said, which the library has been using to avoid cuts in hours and services.

Delaware's library system receives most of its funding from the Ohio Public Library Fund, she said.

The annual $2.6-million the library receives did not change from 2002-2008, despite Delaware being the fastest-growing county in the state, she said. DCDL spends $20 per capita, less than any other library system in the state, she told the commissioners.

Commissioner Todd Hanks asked Santos how the library continued to operate with no decrease in service from 2002 to 2008 when inflation grew by 14 percent.

"We used the funds we saved," dipping into reserves for the last three years, she answered. "In 2008, the public library funds (from the state) ran out on Oct. 29" and the library used about $400,000 of reserve funds to make it to the end of the year.

The deadline to put items on the May 5 ballot is Feb. 19, according to Aric Hochstettler, Delaware assistant prosecuting attorney.

During his committee report, Hanks said he recently met with fire chiefs from around the county and they urged him to resurrect plans for a countywide siren warning system.

Last summer, the previous commissioners refused to place a levy request for such a system on the November ballot. They said there were too many unanswered questions.

Those concerns have been addressed, Hanks said.

Hochstettler told the commissioners he has a resolution ready for their review, if they want to consider a May 5 ballot issue.

If the commissioners decide to proceed, two issues would be on the ballot, one for the purchase of a siren system, estimated at 0.24 mill, and another for maintenance, estimated at 0.05 mill, Hanks said.

Both issues would only be collected for only one year, he said.

The commissioners will continue discussions on both levy requests at next week's meetings.

cpreston@thisweeknews.com