The Pickerington Public Library will seek renewal of a 0.75-mill levy in November as well as an additional 0.5 mill to provide operating dollars for its two branches.

In November 2009, voters passed a 10-year, 0.75-mill operating levy that has generated approximately $830,800 each year since 2010.

Now, library officials are asking voters to renew that levy and are requesting an additional 0.5 mill.

They also are seeking to make both the renewal and the additional millage a "continuing" levy, meaning the added tax would be permanent and not have to be periodically renewed.

The 1.25-mill levy would generate approximately $1.485 million annually -- about 57 percent of the total funds needed to run the library system's two branches, according to library director Tony Howard.

"We are seeking a continuing levy," Howard said. "The library's current levy is a 10-year levy and the library met all promises to the community within eight years.

"The funding from this levy ends in late 2019. The library board of trustees feel a continuing levy eliminates the need for the library to come to the taxpayers every few years."

Howard said public libraries have repeatedly faced cuts in Ohio Gov. John Kasich's bi-annual budget proposals, but state legislators "for the most part are extremely supportive of libraries and worked with us to keep state funding steady."

Now, however, many entities are competing for fiscal resources from the state and "uncertainty over executive branch leadership in our state government" has library officials seeking more local help, Howard said.

"The board of trustees feels seeking more local support is the best way to ensure the stability of the Pickerington Public Library," Howard said.

"This continuing levy will provide permanent and dedicated funds to the library, thus leading to a stronger and more prosperous community."

If the issues pass, the owner of a $100,000 residence will pay $38.67 per year, Howard said.

People who live within the Pickerington Local School District boundaries would be subject to the levy.

"That is a little over 10 cents a day," Howard said. "Currently, Pickerington and Violet Township homeowners are paying $21.17 per year per $100,000 of home value to support the Pickerington Public Library.

"The additional (millage) amount will add $17.50 per year per $100,000 of home value," Howard said.

"We are seeking a renewal with an addition because this allows our taxpayers to use the homestead exemption."

Howard said the levy would allow the library to maintain its current services, including providing computers, Homework Help Centers and a catalog of books, CDs, DVDs and magazines.

It also would allow the library to expand services into the northwest area of Pickerington and Violet Township.

"The current 0.75-mill levy does not generate enough revenue to allow the library to continue providing resources, computers, educational programs, classes and other services to the people of Pickerington and Violet Township," Howard said.

"In fact, we are discovering that our current funding levels aren't enough to appropriately serve the almost 50,000 residents in the library's service area.

"The additional 0.5 mills will allow the library to continue to maintain the current level of services and resources, to expand access to new and emerging technologies and to expand services into the northwest area of our community."

Howard noted the 2009 levy is the only time the library system has sought local funding in its 110-year history.

"The library levy on the ballot in November will not generate any money for the library until January 2020," he said.

"We work hard to ensure we are fiscally responsible with taxpayer's money and plan toward the future appropriately.

"The library's current levy ends on Dec. 31, 2019," Howard said.

"If the levy does not pass, the library will lose a sizeable portion of its revenue and will have to make cuts to its services, resources, hours of operations and staffing," Howard said.

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