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Opinion

Batavia library asks voters to swap debt tax for increase in operations tax

Batavia Public Library on the Nov. 6 ballot will ask taxpayers to redirect the tax rate from the expiring construction bonds to the operating fund.

This proposal is the result of three strategic planning initiatives that grew out of a 2008 master plan for space utilization, long-term maintenance issues and capital improvements: a comprehensive community telephone survey in 2014; a Capital Asset Plan, the result of an in-depth review of the library’s nearly 20-year-old building and site in 2017; and a series of four Speak Up! Community Engagement sessions in early 2018.

Why is the library asking for a referendum now?

Knowing that the construction bonds would be paid off in 2018, the Board of Library Trustees saw a way to redirect those bond funds to support continuous improvements and maintenance at the library. The Library Board is committed to a zero tax rate change. Essentially a swap, the library’s proposal redirects the 7-cent tax rate for construction bonds to the library’s tax rate for operations.

What will the cost be to a homeowner?

If voters approve the proposition, there will be no additional cost but only a redirection of the existing tax rate. The library will use the money now paid for the bonds, which will be paid off in December, to sustain current programs, hours of operation, and staffing, and respond to changing technology. Most important, the funds will be used to maintain the community’s investment in the library’s nearly 20-year-old building and site by systematically addressing long-term maintenance needs, which are identified in the library’s Capital Asset Plan.

How will the homeowner benefit?

The quality of our library, schools, parks and city services influence the residents’ quality of life as well as the market value of property and homes.

Where can I get more information on this project?

Information on the referendum is available online at www.BataviaPublicLibrary.org/referendum.aspx. Informational handouts are available at all library service desks. You also can contact George H. Scheetz, the library director, at 630-879-1393, ext. 350.

The library will host two question-and-answer informational sessions. The first will take place at 2 p.m. Oct. 7. The second will be at 7 p.m. Nov. 1.

Treat the kids with a book
this Halloween

When your doorbell rings on Halloween, treat your spooky visitors with a book (with or without another treat) by giving them a coupon for a free children’s or young adult book. They can redeem the coupons at a Friends’ Saturday book sale or in the Friends Book Corner on our upper level. All Hallows’ Read book coupons will be sold in sheets of 10 for $2.50 from Oct. 1 to 31 at the Check Out Desk in the library or on Oct. 13 during the Friends’ book sale.

Patricia Leonard is the promotional services manager for the Batavia Public Library. The “@ Your Library” column runs the fourth Thursday of each month. Feedback can be sent to editorial@kcchronicle.com.

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