Portage County District Library will be appearing on the November 3, 2020 ballot as Issue #31.
We are asking for a 1-Mill, 10-year property tax levy to supplement our operating budget.
What is the current funding situation?
At present, PCDL is one of the only systems in the area that relies solely on state funding. Because we do not currently receive any money from local property taxes, our funding levels are largely decided in Columbus, rather than here in Portage County. Our system currently operates with an annual budget similar to Kent Free Library or Reed Memorial Library in Ravenna, however, instead of one location, we operate five branches, outreach services, and cover a population with roughly five times as many people as those libraries. When you account for our budget and service population, Portage County District Library is the third-worst-funded library in the state of Ohio, ranking 249 out of 251.
Because we do not receive any local revenue, our funding levels fluctuate from month to month depending on the money the state takes in from sales and income tax. When those amounts decrease, as they have this year, it has a direct impact on our budget. Similarly, when the state decides to cut funding to libraries, as they did in 2009, we have nothing else to fall back on. This has led to reductions in hours and the closing of library branches. Having never fully recovered from the 2009 cuts, we are out of other options.
Why 10 years?
Our goal is stable and sustainable funding. We want to make sure that we can follow through on our commitments to public service and outreach to the communities we serve. Because of this, we believe 10 years will give us the necessary stability to make long-lasting changes to our services. It is important to note that with a 10-year levy, the amount you pay in year 1 will be the amount you pay in year 10, as the rate will stay the same even as property values increase.
Will this increase my taxes?
Yes. Residents of our service district currently pay $0 in property taxes to support the public library. Therefore, any funding increase will result in an increase in taxes. The annual increase will be $35 for a home valued at $100,000.
What will the library do with the money?
Taking community input into account, our board has identified six priorities in our strategic plan, they are:
• Restoration of hours at all branches
• Purchase of a bookmobile or similar mobile service location
• Providing weekly mobile service to each school district that does not have a branch location
• Doubling the library’s current outreach to homebound patrons and assisted living facilities
• Updating and expanding all Library Express service locations to include one in each city or township served by PCDL
• Working with local communities in identifying a location for the establishment of a new branch library