The Upper Arlington Library board of trustees last week unanimously agreed to place a five-year renewal levy on the 2012 primary ballot.

The Upper Arlington Library board of trustees last week unanimously agreed to place a five-year renewal levy on the 2012 primary ballot.

The board discussed the library’s options for funding at its Oct. 18 meeting. While adding millage to the library’s 2-mill levy was considered, the board’s finance committee ultimately decided to ask voters for no increases, board member William Shkurti said during a presentation.

“In working to develop this plan, we found out a couple of things. One is that the library is taking a total of $1.4 million in continued state cuts over the last several years, which amounts to 15 percent of our operating budget,” Shkurti said. “We found that the impact on our patrons has been mitigated by good management on the part of management and staff here; we now have four people doing the work of what five people used to.”

Shkurti said that for the owner of a $300,000 house (the average property value in Upper Arlington), the levy would continue to cost $184 per year.

The library’s current levy expires in December 2012, so the levy to appear in the 2012 primary would be in place from 2013-17.

Shkurti told the board that several reasons kept them from suggesting an addition two-tenths of a mill to the levy, which could generate an additional $300,000 per year.

“The library has also managed to accumulate a little over $5 million in the bank, which is a good thing, but part of that’s been done by deferring maintenance needs, which we thought was appropriate given the budget decisions we’ve had,” he said. “But that now means we have a lot of unmet needs in technology and maintenance, at least $8 million in unmet needs.

“We felt that financially we could justify an increase of (two-tenths of a mill); however, we did some discussion around the community and among ourselves, and we were worried about the impact of any kind of an increase on taxpayers in this bad economy.”

Shkurti told the board that based on current projections, the finance committee believes the library will be able to provide its current level of services for another two or three years on current funding levels.

“Things get a little more ‘iffy’ in years four and five, and we’re projecting deficits if nothing else changes,” he said. “This also assumes state support will remain level, which it hasn’t for the last couple years, so we would also recommend that we take a look at the library’s finances and budget picture after the next state biennium budget is passed.”