By Jordan Cohen
With its revenues significantly declining, the McKinley Memorial Library has asked the Niles Board of Education to place a 1.75-mill continuous operating levy on the November ballot.
The library’s current five-year operating levy of 1.5 mills expires next year.
Under state law, the Niles school board is the only taxing authority that can place a levy on the ballot on behalf of the McKinley library and appoint its directors.
“We desperately need the help because we’re running on 1997 income levels,” said Patrick Finan, library director. “We’re the only library in the county that doesn’t have a continuing levy.”
Finan said tax re-evaluations and declining property values have decreased income.
“We have gone from [anticipated revenue of] $397,000 down to $350,000 now,” Finan told the board. “We never wanted to go back to the voters, but this has forced us into it.”
Finan said revenue allocated from the state’s Public Library Fund has been sharply cut adding to the library’s financial difficulties. “It doesn’t look like a very stable source of funding,” he said.
At least one board member seemed sympathetic. “I’m buying what you’re saying, but I can’t speak for the rest of the board,” said Chris Doutt, a school board member. Other board members did not comment during Finan’s presentation and the board has not indicated when it might act on the levy request.
Asked by Doutt about the levy’s cost to homeowners, Finan said that for a home valued at $80,000, the cost would be $43.87 per year or $3.66 each month.
The library is located inside the National McKinley Birthplace Memorial on North Main Street.