The Press Newspaper
Oak Harbor Library officials are planning to put their first levy on the ballot in November.
The proposed 1-mill levy would generate $368,424 annually for the library that has been struggling to meet community needs in the wake of cuts in state funding over the past five years.
A taxpayer with a home valued at $100,000 would pay about $35 a year in additional taxes, according to the Ottawa County auditor’s office.
“We’re hoping by passing the levy we can restore some services like library hours and take care of some necessary building needs,” Head Librarian Nina Hall said Tuesday.
The West Main Street facility has reduced its hours, including staying closed on Sundays. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
The library board of trustees has also cut back significantly on the purchase of new books and materials each year and decided to no longer subscribe to online services such as the once-popular auto repair reference site, Hall said.
“They are too costly,” Hall explained. Instead, patrons rely on items available through free online services provided via the Ohio Public Library Information Network.
The budget constraints have also made it impossible for the library board to address major building maintenance, specifically the installation of a badly needed new furnace, explained Kathy Steinmiller, president of the board.
The carpeting has also seen better days, Hall added.
“This will be a new levy,” Steinmiller explained. “We will put it on one time and hopefully that will be enough.”
The library, established in 1908 by the Oak Harbor Literary and Social Club, is a municipal library serving the Benton-Carroll-Salem School District. The library board includes six members who are appointed by the mayor of the Village of Oak Harbor.
Because the library is situated within a municipal taxing district, board trustees had to go to village council to request a levy resolution on behalf of the library.
Funding the levy campaign and other associated costs fall solely on the library board, Steinmiller said.
Mayor Bill Eberle said paperwork for a resolution could be ready as soon as the next regular village council meeting on May 5. Because of a three-reading requirement, passage could take up to six weeks or council could deem the situation an emergency to speed up the process, giving library backers more time to get the levy ready for an upcoming election.
In Port Clinton, the Ida Rupp Public Library is seeking a levy renewal on the May 6 ballot.
A 2009 levy expires this year and library trustees there are asking voters to pass a replacement and reduction levy of 0.8-mill for five years. That would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $28 a year, according to campaign literature.