The Blade/Jeremy Wadsworth
Statewide election results show that Ohioans value the services that libraries offer to patrons.
All 14 property tax levies and one bond request to support library systems that were on the ballot Tuesday in Ohio were successful, including the 2.9-mill property tax for the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library system.
In comparison, 45 of 122 new school tax issues in the state were approved, a passage rate of 37 percent.
Margins of passage range from the 79 percent approval for a 2.5-mill replacement levy for Grandview Heights Public Library in suburban Columbus to the 89-vote difference in Guernsey County District Public Library’s new 1-mill property tax. The 1.56-mill, $157 million bond issue to fund a system-wide building project for Dayton Metro Libraries won voter approval by 62 percent.
Clyde Scoles, director of the Toledo-Lucas County library system, said that levy requests for library funding have increased significantly in the last three years because of state-budget cuts.
“This is not surprising that public libraries are very much supported in Ohio,” he said. “It shows that the public, in general, are extremely supportive of libraries in wanting to maintain their existence. I think it is a testament to their customer services and the myriad of services provided by public libraries.”
Ohio voters approved 11 of 14 property tax issues for public library funding on the March ballot.
Doug Evans, executive director of the Ohio Library Council, said local property tax revenues have helped ease the nearly 25 percent decrease since 2007 in state funding for libraries.
“We are pleased that voters in Ohio continue to express their support for public libraries at the polls. Voters in communities that approved renewal, additional, or replacement levies know that their libraries provide necessary services and are good stewards of the funds that voters have entrusted to them,” he said.
Toledo voters' renewal Tuesday of an existing 2-mill levy, which expires on Dec. 31, as well as an additional 0.9-mill, will add an extra $27 in taxes annually for the owner of a $100,000 home, bringing the total annual cost to $88.
Mr. Scoles said the five-year operating levy will help restore hours, materials, services, and staff that were cut over the last several years because of state cutbacks.