My family and I often – really often – use the resources, books and other materials from the Timberland Regional Library system. Across the country, it seems, library use is on the increase. This February, our library system will ask voters to approve a measure which will restore the library levy rate on property taxes to 50 cents per thousand dollars of assessed property value to maintain library services.
TRL has released a fact sheet describing the levy and its reasons for placing the levy on the ballot. Click here to download that fact sheet.
Here are some highlights from the fact sheet:
- TRL receives 89% of its revenues from property taxes. Most of the balance of the library’s revenue comes from taxes on harvested timber. Due to a recent law that limits the library to a 1% annual increase in property taxes combined with a steep decline in new construction and timber harvests, a gap has developed between available revenue and TRL’s operating expenses. In 2009 this gap is estimated to be slightly more than one million dollars. This requires TRL to pull dollars from its dwindling reserve fund.
- A homeowner with a $200,000 home currently pays approximately $68 annually for library services. With the levy increase the additional cost would be less than $34 more each year.
- TRL has taken steps to reduce operating costs, including imposing staff reductions and a hiring freeze, reducing operating hours of some library branches and reducing its budget for purchasing new library materials.
- If by public vote the ballot proposition failed, TRL’s Board of Trustees would need to make further spending cuts that could result in fewer open hours, reduced staff and possibly the closure of some libraries.
If you haven’t visited the local branch of the TRL (there are four, within easy driving distance from the Griffin area), you’re really missing out on a valuable community resource. TRL also operates a terrific web site, which includes not only a complete online catalog, but access to a wide array of data resources and even downloadable audio books. Visit the TRL web site at http://www.trlib.org/trlhome.htm
I encourage Griffin residents to learn more about the levy ballot and about the Timberland Regional Library system. And, I encourage voters to approve the levy.
— MARK MESSINGER
What’s your take on this levy? Do you use the resources of the TRL? Do you support the levy request? Click on the comments link below and leave your comments for other readers.