The Archbold Community Library Board took the first step toward putting a second property tax levy on the ballots for Nov. 7.
During the Wednesday, May 17 meeting, board members authorized Jennifer Harkey, library fiscal officer, to obtain certification of approximately how much money levies of 1 mill, 1.1 mills, and 1.2 mills would bring in.
In Ohio, state funding of libraries is based on a percentage of the state general revenue fund. The fund is called the Public Library Fund, or PLF.
In 2016, the Archbold library received 59% of its funding through the PLF. Another 37% of the library revenue came from the current .7-mill property tax levy.
That levy, originally passed in 1994, was for fourtenths (.4) mill.
Later, that four-tenths was renewed and another three-tenths (.3) was added.
Because taxable property values are not allowed to grow with appreciation of property values, the millage charged to property owners is reduced.
The reduced value is known as the effective millage.
The current effective mill- age of the .7- mill levy is .56438 mill.
Joyce Klingelsmith, library director, and Harkey said state legislature commitment to the PLF is diminishing.
The PLF has been cut in the past, and Klingelsmith said the Senate wants to further cut library funds.
Over time, money the Archbold library receives from the state is becoming less, while dependence on the local levy is increasing.
There is no uptick in PLF funding in sight, she said.
Klingelsmith said years ago, the state legislature chose to phase out the Tangible Personal Property Tax, or TPP. The TPP was a tax on business equipment and inventory.
The legislature replaced the revenue libraries lost due to the TPP phase-out. Klingelsmith said the money was supposed to continue to flow into perpetuity; in other words, forever.
“A year or two later, they changed their mind, and it was all gone. It makes it very hard to plan and forecast for the future,” Klingelsmith said.
Recently, state officials were off on their estimate of revenue for 2016. The actual amount was $400 million less.
Library officials were forced to do their budgeting with what Klingelsmith called “a worthless number.”
With a decrease in state support, Klingelsmith said library officials have not been able to put money aside for furniture and building repairs.
“We can handle equipment needs for the next couple years, but we can’t put money back into that fund. Right now, if we need new computers, we can replace them.
“It’s not like we’re out of money, but we’re one or two major projects away” from running out of cash.
And there is a big project looming in the future– replacement of the roof. Estimated cost for that project is in excess of $100,000.
The current library levy is due to be renewed or replaced in 2019.
“But we looked at the figures and we can’t wait until 2019,” Klingelsmith said.
Board members spent part of the meeting discussing how much to ask from taxpayers.
Klingelsmith said 1 mill is the minimum the library needs. That would provide $86,000 in additional revenue.
For the owner of a home valued at $120,000, the cost of a new 1-mill levy would increase from about $24 per year to $42.
Harkey said $42 is equal to the cost of two books at a bookstore.
Klingelsmith said the figure works out to $4 per month, or less than a dollar a day.
The figure of $120,000 was chosen, Klingelsmith said, because the average cost of a home in the Archbold School District is about $115,000.
Annie Hernandez, fiscal supervisor for the Fulton County Auditor office, said for the owner of a $100,000 home, the cost of the one-mill levy would be about $35.
Gerald Short, a library board member, said he wondered if 1 mill is enough. He suggested 1.1 or 1.2 mills, given the imminent needs of the library.
No Double Tax
Klingelsmith said if voters approve a new levy, the current .7-mill levy will not be collected.
That levy has two years left. If a new levy passes, Klingelsmith said the board would request that the current levy not be collected in 2018 and 2019.
At the end of that time, it would be allowed to expire.
Since libraries do not have the authority to put a levy on the ballot, the library works with the Archbold school board for levy funding.
She said the library board must ask the school board to put the levy on the Nov. 7 ballot.
A property tax levy for the library is collected from every property owner in the school district. Every registered voter in the school district will have the opportunity to cast a ballot on the question.
The next meeting of the Archbold Library Board is Thursday, June 8, 7 pm, at the library.