The Washington County Public Library Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to place a five-year, 1-mill levy on the November ballot.
According to Richard Murdock, the president of the board, more than 90 percent of the library system's funding comes from the state. Since 2005, funding from that source has either remained the same or decreased.
Murdock said the situation is only going to get worse, once some stimulus funding and grants now in place are no longer available.
ASHLEY HILL The Marietta Times
People sit and read in the main branch of the Washington County Public Library Wednesday. The library’s board voted Wednesday to place a 1-mill levy on the November ballot.
"The understanding we have from the state, looking ahead to the next two-year budget cycle, it's going to be very, very bad," he said. "Things are going to be cut - how, we don't know, but we're trying to plan ahead."
In 2009, the library system took a significant hit when its state funding dropped $415,024 from the previous year.
"Schools are hurting, everyone's hurting, but we took a major cut last year and this is something we have to do," Washington County Library Director Justin Mayo said of the levy.
About the proposal
The Washington County Public Library Board of Trustees voted to place a five-year, 1-mill levy on the November ballot.
The exact amount the levy will raise has not been determined.
The money would go towards operating the libraries.
Murdock pointed out that the library system has made cuts in several areas in order to make up for the difference.
"We've cut down the amount of books being bought to try to match the moneys," he said.
In July 2009, the board voted to cut five hours from the work week of all 61 employees in the library system, and the libraries' operating hours were also cut back.
And it isn't just local libraries that are suffering.
According to Murdock, a few years ago, 33 percent of the state's libraries had levies, but that has jumped to 56 percent.
Fiscal officer Sandy Starr said the exact amount of the five-year levy would raise has not been determined, but it should be prior to the board's next regularly scheduled meeting on June 16.
"We'll find out when he (county Auditor Bill McFarland) actually certifies it," she said.
Murdock noted that it could end up being about $1 million.
Mayo said the money would go toward operating costs.
"I don't want to make promises (of) what we cut or what we bring back," he said. "We have to try for a levy and hopefully it passes and everything will be good, but if not, we don't know what the future could hold."