Chances are if you’ve attended a festival or football game in the Genoa or Elmore areas the past few weeks someone has given you a brochure promoting a levy issue on the November ballot in support of the Harris-Elmore Public Library.
Georgiana Huizenga, library director, said library supporters have relied heavily on face-to-face contact to promote the levy.
Voters in the library’s service area, which includes all of Allen and Clay townships and Harris Township except for a portion in the Benton-Carroll-Salem School District, will decide a 1.1-mill, 5-year property tax levy.
It’s the first time the library – based in Elmore with a branch in Genoa – has gone to voters for local millage.
“We have gotten our message out by passing out stickers at the Woodmore/Genoa football game, distributing literature at the Genoa Street Fair, and holding a bake sale and distributing literature at the Elmore Irish Fest,” Huizenga said. “We have also spoken to the Elmore and Genoa village councils, the Harris, Clay, and Allen townships trustee meetings, and various other organizations.”
If passed, the levy would generate about $250,000 annually.
Due to cuts in state funding, the hours at both libraries have been reduced by a third. Wages have been frozen and hours for part-time staffers reduced. Salaried employees are being paid for 36 hours instead of 40 and are required to pay for half of their health insurance premiums.
Huizenga said the budget for materials has been cut in half and programs for children have been cut.
“Not having a childrens’ services person has really hurt,” she said. “Should the levy pass, we hope to restore the hours to what they had previously been, hire a new childrens services employee, and also restore our materials budget to previous levels. We’d also like to give more hours to our Local History Librarian. The Local History Room is a vital part of our mission, and researching, and the new digitization project takes a lot of her time.”
Additional cuts, if the levy fails, won’t be known until the next state budget is adopted next summer.
Voters in the Wood County Public Library district will decide an additional 0.8-mill, 5-year levy. The library district includes the Northwood School District and parts of the Bowling Green, Lake, Gibsonburg, Lakota, Patrick Henry, McComb, Anthony Wayne, Perrysburg, and Fostoria districts.
With a few exceptions, voters in most other area jurisdictions will only see renewal or replacement levies on the Nov. 2 ballot.
Voters in unincorporated areas of Lake Township will decide two levies for funding road improvements and repairs.
The township board of trustees has placed on the ballot a 1-mill, 5-year replacement levy and an additional 1-mill continuing levy for funding the reconstruction of streets, roads, and bridges in the township road district.
Both levies, if approved, will be assessed on the township’s current property valuation of about $169.1 million and will each generate about $169,143 annually
The 5-year levy would replace an existing levy set to expire at the end of the year that generates only about $114,670 annually because it is based on 1986 property valuations.
The trustees cite rising costs for repairs and resurfacing roads as the reason for seeking additional millage. In the past few years, they’ve drawn revenue from the township’s general fund to help pay for the costs.
Even with general fund dollars, the township has only been able to repair about 1.5 miles annually – about half of what the repair program covered 10 years ago.
In the Village of Luckey, a 1.9-mill, 5-year renewal levy for operating expenses will be on the ballot.
Voters in the Village of Millbury will decide a 1-mill, 3-year renewal levy for operating expenses.
In Freedom Township, voters will decide two levies. An 0.4-mill, 3-year levy for fire department equipment will be up for renewal and a 1-mill, 5-year levy for road repairs and maintenance will be up for replacement. Voters in the unincorporated areas of the township only will see the road levy on the ballot.
Troy Township voters will see two levies on the ballot: a renewal request for an 0.8-mill, 5-year levy for operating expenses and a 1.2-mill, 5-year replacement levy for fire department equipment.
In the Village of Risingsun, a 1.3-mill, 4-year replacement levy for operating expenses will be on the ballot.
The Lake Local School District is seeking renewal of a 1.4-mill, continuing levy for permanent improvements and replacement of a 6.63-mill, continuing levy for operating expenses. The school board reduced the millage of the replacement levy by 0.12-mill to keep tax collections at the same level as they were when the levy was originally passed.
The Genoa School District is seeking renewal of a 3.9-mill, 5-year levy for operating expenses.
Village of Elmore voters will see a 3-mill, 3-year renewal levy for street and road maintenance on the ballot.
Rocky Ridge voters will decide an increased replacement levy of 5 mills for fire department equipment. If approved, the levy will be in effect for 5 years.
In Benton Township, a 5.5-mill, 5-year renewal levy for operating expenses will be on the ballot and in Harris Township voters will decide a 0.7-mill, 5-year levy for operating cemeteries.
Voters in the Woodmore School District will see a 2.99-mill, 5-year emergency levy on the ballot.
If passed, it will generate about $450,000 annually.
Madison Township voters will decide a renewal request for a 1-mill-5-year levy for operating expenses.
The EHOVE School District is seeking replacement of a 1.5-mill, continuing levy for operating expenses.