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Library lowers property tax rates by 1.2 percent, 3.41 percent

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By Meaghan Downs

Library trustees, including two new board members, unanimously agreed last Tuesday to lower real property taxes by 1.163 percent and personal property taxes by 3.41 percent for the upcoming fiscal year.
Board president Bryan Proctor made the first motion to accept a custom rate of 85 cents per $1,000 assessed value for both real and personal property.
The new rates will shave roughly $1 off real property taxes and a little more than $3 off personal property taxes on taxpayers’ tax bills.
The motor vehicle tax rate — which is fixed because of statute — will remain the same at $2.70 per $100 assessed value.
This year’s compensating rate — at 87 cents for real and personal property — would have raised the library’s real property tax rate by 1-cent and lowered personal property tax rates by 1-cent.
Library Director Pam Mullins said she did not think a compensating tax rate, set with the intent to provide about the same revenue for a taxing district as the year before, would be needed by the library to maintain its services.
“Given our income last year, I don’t think that’s necessary, and I don’t think it’s a good idea. We’ve lowered last year; we’ve maintained since 2009. I don’t think it’s needed or a good idea,” Mullins said.
Mullins said she would recommend trustees match the library’s real and personal property tax rates for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.
“That’s how they started out, that was kind of the intent the way these were set,” Mullins said. “I think we should do them both at 8.6 or 8.5.”
Mullins said the 85-cent tax rates would lower revenue by about $15,000 as compared to the 86-cent tax rates, but she said the library was slightly over budget last year. The library, she added, should be able to meet the budget passed for the upcoming fiscal year with the 85-cent tax rate.
“The surplus we had last year, looking at the rates, I’m a fan of the custom rate #1 which is the 8.5 [per $100 assessed property value],” board president Bryan Proctor said. “I think we can survive off this.”
Mullins said the tax rate calculations provided to trustees did not show income the library has received from delinquent taxes. The library has collected at least $25,000 from delinquent taxes every year since Mullins has been the director in Anderson County, she said.
“That [delinquent taxes] would bring us up to the anticipated level,” Mullins said.
Trustee Martha McNaghten seconded the motion, but before the tax rates were passed, library board members weighed the consequences the rate may have on the community, the library and the lawsuit filed against the library.
“This is the rate that allows us to get [real and personal property tax rates] back together so it takes care of some of the confusion with those two different rates,” new board member Rachel Dockal said “But it also seems to be a fiscally responsible rate given the budget we’re currently working under and the uncertainty that we’re facing with the situation with the lawsuits. We have to be fiscally responsible: it seems [the rates] would give us the ability to maintain our services and what we can support fiscally.”
The library will receive approximately $18,173 less in real and personal property tax rate revenue next year compared to their current rate of 86 cents for real and 88 cents for personal property per $1,000 assessed value.
At 85 cents per $1,000 assessed value for both real and personal property, the library’s new tax rates will give the library about $1.28 million in revenue for next fiscal year, not including new property.

Friends of the Library plan
to hold sale over Burgoo,
author festival
The Friends of the Library’s new building has been placed on the library’s grounds, Library Director Pam Mullins told board members during last Tuesday’s meeting. The library board, which had discussed paying for the gravel for the building’s foundation, ended up not paying for the building’s necessary gravel due to the time constraints, she said.
The library may be making improvements to its property in the future to assist the Friends of the Library organization, Mullins said.
The Friends of the Library group is in the process of scheduling book sales to coincide with the library’s upcoming author’s event on Sept. 21 and the burgoo festival to be held at the end of September.

Library board discusses
advisory board
Director Pam Mullins came back to the board with information regarding the establishment of an advisory board to assist library trustees with gathering information or investigating certain topics.
The advisory board is informal, Mullins, and a way to build new, future members.
“That was my concern,” Library board president Bryan Proctor said. “Are they going to be active?”  
Terry Manuel, who had been serving at the library board’s interim regional librarian up until August, said Franklin County library currently has a very active advisory committee with a reputation for success and professionalism.
“The advisory board really has no legal status,” Manuel said. “The problem with creating a board committee is that it falls under open records; you’ll have to advertize and post an agenda. If you have an advisory committee, they do it on their own and it’s not a committee of the board. They have the flexibility to go out.”
Trustees asked Mullins to research the Franklin County library and present her findings at the next library board meeting in September.

Library director highlights annual report
Library director Pam Mullins presented the library’s annual report, to be sent on to the state for approval, to library board trustees last Tuesday night.
Financial
Operating Revenue: $1,381,528
Operating Expenditures: $995,173
Capital Expenditures: $342,917
Total Expenditures: $1,338,090        
Surplus: $43,438

Circulation and use
Total Physical Materials: 65,396
Total Digital Materials: 89,892
Number of Registered Users: 15,074
Number of Visits to the Library: 89,212
Total Circulation: 132,312 (4.65 %  increase)

Programs
                         
Infant/Toddler: 

Programs                       

35        

Attendees

638
Preschool:                     

Programs                                       

296            

Attendees

4,679
Elementary School:                                           

Programs

123          

Attendees

4,713

Young Adult/Teen:   

Programs

55

Attendees

355

Tutoring/Homework Help:                                      

Programs

151            

Attendees

1,813
Adult:    

Programs                                                                

203            

Attendees

3,027

Total programs: 863            

Total attendees: 15,225