On July 24, 2014, Mahoning County Commissioners voted unanimously to place a library levy on the November ballot. The levy will lower taxes. Commisioners Approve Levy - pdf
The Library currently has two levies, both of which expire at the end of 2014
• a 1-mill levy passed in 2009
• a 1.8-mill levy passed in 2010
The Library Board on May 29 voted to combine the two current levies into one ballot issue. At the same time, Trustees and Library administration wanted to give a reduction to taxpayers. After reviewing many possible combinations for the levy, the Board voted on a two-fold solution:
• Place a 1.8-mill renewal on the ballot and add six-tenths of a mill. This would be one single ballot issue.
• Allow the current 1-mill levy to expire.
The effect of this combination results in an 11% reduction in taxes for the homeowner.
Unfortunately, ballot language is dictated by law and will read: “Renewal and Increase.” But in actuality, homeowners will see their Library taxes go down.
The 11% reduction is due to two factors:
• The current 1-mill levy will be retired
• Because the 1.8-mill portion of the levy is a RENEWAL, so homeowners can still retain their rollback savings.
Much thought went into the decision about the type of levy the Library would request. Combining levies to 2.4 mills (down from the current 2.8 mills) would result in a “replacement” levy, rather than a “renewal,” and the homeowner would lose the benefit of the rollback savings.
The current levy costs homeowners $86 per $100,000 of valuation. The new levy will cost $76 per $100,000.
In 2013, Library Levy proceeds amounted to 57% of receipts.
The other main source of library funding is the Public Library Fund (PLF), which amounted to 41% of Library receipts in 2013.
The Library has experienced a 30% reduction in PLF funding from 2001 to 2013 Mahoning County libraries went from receiving $10.8 million in PLF funds in 2001 to receiving $7.6 million in PLF funds in 2013.
Building projects are done in accordance with long-range plans going back over 15 years. Money is saved for construction projects. This saves the Library and the taxpayer money in interest charges because financing is not required.
The Library Board and administration believe that this levy will meet the Library's financial needs for providing quality library service, barring any drastic cuts in state funding, while affording some relief to taxpayers.
Lowering taxes for homeowners was a priority for the Library and was possible because funds have been accumulated and earmarked for building projects in the strategic plan and large construction projects will be coming to an end.
The Building and Repair Fund also contains monies needed to maintain the 15 physical buildings in the county-wide library system. [7-24-2014]Library Levy