BOWLING GREEN — With nearly $1 million less to work with than in 2007, trustees with the Wood County District Public Library decided Tuesday night to ask voters to make up the difference.
Trustees voted unanimously to ask the county auditor to certify how much money would be generated annually from a 0.8-mill operating levy.
Library Director Elaine Paulette said preliminary estimates indicate such a measure would raise $1,036,000 a year and cost the owner of a $100,000 house $24.50 a year. The board likely would put the levy on the November ballot and ask voters to approve it for five years.
"If we hope to be the library we've been all these years, I think we need to think about an operating levy," Trustee Scott McEwen said in proposing the idea.
The operating levy would be the first in the library's history, although in 2000 voters approved a 25-year, 0.32-mill bond issue that raised $5 million for library renovations.
The library, which has its main location in Bowling Green and a small branch in Walbridge, relies solely on state funding for its operating budget, and that income has dropped dramatically in recent years.
The library's budget was $2.3 million in 2007, while its projected 2010 budget is $1.4 million. Ms. Paulette said already this year, state funding is down 16.8 percent for the first quarter of the year compared to the first quarter of 2009. The funding situation is not expected to return to pre-2007 levels until as late as 2016 — if it ever does.