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Library trustees approve levy

June 19, 2014
The Town Crier

Meeting in special session, trustees of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County (PLYMC) voted to place a five-year levy on the November 2014 ballot, which is less than the combined levies currently being collected and will reduce the cost to taxpayers by about 11 percent.

The library currently has two levies in effect -- a 1-mill levy and a 1.8-mill levy.

The library board voted to combine these into one ballot issue that is less than the two current issues, with a 1.8-mill renewal plus an additional six-tenths of a mill. The current one-mill levy will be allowed to expire.

''It is important that taxpayers realize this levy is a savings, because the ballot language may be confusing. This new levy would result in about an 11-percent reduction to taxpayers. The 1.8-mill portion of the levy would be renewed, and because it is a renewal, it would allow homeowners to keep any current rollbacks to their taxes on that amount.

Despite the addition of six-tenths of a mill, the new levy will reduce taxpayer payments because of the rollback savings and the fact that the library's other levy, for 1 mill, will be retired,'' explained Janet Loew, library communications and public relations director.

This levy will meet the library's financial needs, barring any drastic cuts in state funding, while affording some relief to taxpayers.

The two current library levies amount to about 58 percent of the library's receipts. The state's PLF (Public Library Fund) amounts to about 40 percent of receipts. The remainder comes from sources such as fines and fees, plus private donations.

Library executive director Heidi Daniel explains, ''We feel we can operate effectively with a renewal of our 1.8-mill levy plus an additional six-tenths of a mill and letting the current 1-mill levy lapse. We considered a 2.3-mill replacement levy, but with new state laws, this would mean that homeowners would lose their tax rollbacks.''

Library trustee executive committee met earlier this week and voted to recommend this option to the full board, which unanimously approved. Next, the levy request will go to Mahoning County commissioners for approval.

In other action, the board approved transferring $30,000 from the library foundation comprised of private funds to inform the public about the library levy.

Daniel distributed a draft of the new MyLibrary 2020 strategic plan for review, and no action was taken.

In addition, Daniel reported to the board that the West Library Advisory Committee recommended that the West Side Library be moved to the warming house in the James L. Wick Jr. Recreation Center of Mill Creek Park. Hand-in-hand with this, the committee expressed concern about the disposition of the current building on Mahoning Avenue.

The library board was not asked to take action on the West Side Library recommendation at this meeting, but was asked to authorized the executive director to move forward with further discussions with Mill Creek Park concerning locating the West Side Library at the Wick Recreation Area and to explore the feasibility of a tech center on the current Mahoning Avenue property, as library computers and Internet access are the most used features of the current West Side Library. Trustees agreed.



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