Lib Politics Rodeo August 12, 2014

Welcome to the Lib Politics Rodeo. Every week we will round up the previous week’s news on library politics and highlight some of the things that we are following or reading. Here’s what we have in our lassos this week...

Welcome to the Lib Politics Rodeo. Every week we will round up the previous week’s news on library politics and highlight some of the things that we are following or reading. Here’s what we have in our lassos this week…

Election rollover

We regret that we missed reporting about a couple of libraries that had issues on the ballot in last week’s primary elections. Here’s a round-up of some that we missed…

Ogemaw District Library (MI) was seeking two millages on August 5th- a renewal of a 6 year, 0.3 mil levy and an additional 6 year, 0.2 mil levy, both for district library purposes. Voters rejected the renewal but approved the levy increaseVoters in Kalkaska County approved of a renewal of a five-year, 0.25-mill operational millage for a location of the Kalkaska County Public Library, which will raise more than $183,000 for the library. Lastly, although Detroit voters in Wayne County resoundingly approved of a millage renewal for the Detroit Public Libraries, Wayne County suffered two losses for libraries as Belleville District Library voters rejected a 20-year, $19 million bond issue for library construction and a 20-year, 1-mill increase for library operations.


Saugerties Public Library (NY) is seeking approval of their 2015 operating budget on the September 4th ballot. Approximately $521,964 of their budget will be generated by taxes, with homeowners paying around 29.78 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. It is not a levy or tax increase but an adjustment to the tax rate.

There are some new library levies that will appear on the November ballot this fall. Sonoma County (CA) has formally approved for a new sales tax to appear on the November ballot to support the library. The tax increase of one-eighth of a cent is expected to generate approximately $100 million for the library system over the next ten years. Mechanicsburg Public Library (OH) will also have a measure on the ballot this November. A renewal for a 5 year, 1 mil levy has been approved. It would generate $84,616 in 2015 for the library.

The James River Valley Library System in Stutsman County (ND) is looking to place a ¼% tax sales tax on the November 4th ballot for renovations. It’s still in the early stages, as they are seeking signatures for a petition for the measure. However, the Stutsman County commissioners have decided to sell the Stutsman County Library building, and library officials are unsure of how this will impact the ballot measure.

Norfolk Public Library (NE) is looking to ask voters to approve of a 0.5 cent tax increase to the local 1.5 cent levy on this November’s ballot. The tax will be used for renovations and an expansion of the library, and has garnered local support, according to a recent survey. Norfolk has to first sign an agreement regarding the tax increase with Madison County, as per state law, before it will be officially put on the ballot.

St. Joseph Township (MI) will not be able to have a millage on the ballot for their library until a December 2016 tax bill instead of the November 2014 ballot, as they were hoping for. Board members were informed that their request for a 0.4499 mil renewal can only be on the ballot in the calendar year of its last levy, which will be December 2015. The levy will also be based on the 2016 rate of their State Equalized Value, which they currently don’t know, so they wouldn’t be able to indicate the amount of tax that would be collected by the levy- a necessary detail on the ballot. St. Joseph Township board members are confident that they will be able to get the millage on the ballot in 2016.

We missed this news from an election a few weeks ago in Anchorage (AK). In an unusual turn of events, the state legislature decided to contribute $10 million to the library after voters failed to pass Proposition 3 in the municipal elections, which would have given the library $8.5 million, by 14 votes. That’s right- the voters did not pass the Proposition, and the legislature instead gave MORE money to libraries. The ballot measure proposed funding for libraries along with other parks and rec initiatives, which library officials believe could be a cause of the lack of support. Either way, congratulations Anchorage libraries!

Some unfortunate news this week for libraries in Florida. City Council Finance Committee in Jacksonville (FL) have decided to close the Maxville Library branch on the recommendation of the Library Board of Trustees due to massive budget cuts. This makes the straw ballot for Jacksonville libraries on the Aug. 26 election ballot more pertinent than ever.

EveryLibrary Fun

Tickets are now available to Tatas for Libraries, a fundraising event for EveryLibrary that will take place in Portland, OR on September 20, 2014. Join us for a night of burlesque courtesy of Tart Cabaret, as well as music, comedy, belly dancing, drag and more! This will be a super fun night that will help us continue the work that we do. Tickets are available here. We also need volunteers to help us out with the event. If you are interested please contact Erica for details. We hope to see you there!

That’s all for today. Join us next week for another round up. Happy trails!