Thank you, Champaign County citizens and taxpayers, for supporting the Champaign County Library over the years.
Your support has allowed the library to pass and renew two library operating levies – our 0.4 mill and 0.8 mill levies– which have helped us carry out our mission as a vital community resource for children and adults.
The Library Board of Trustees has decided, however, to not seek a renewal of the 0.4 mill levy on the November ballot. I would like to explain how the board came to this decision.
In 2010, the library board asked the Champaign County Commissioners to place the 0.8 mill levy on the ballot. This request followed drastic cuts in state funding in 2009, on top of a declining economy. Approved by voters, this new levy helped us return to near normal operating strength and complete physical improvements to the library. These include an upgraded HVAC system, new roof, updated and repurposed space within the existing building and creation of a maker space – named the Imagine Lab – and small group study rooms. We accomplished all of this to improve service to Champaign County residents.
Since then, Ohio’s economy has strengthened. The Public Library Fund (PLF), created in 2008 by the State of Ohio, has provided much improved stability in library funding. The PLF (a state budget line item of 1.66% of the General Revenue Fund) has allowed the library to be less dependent on local tax dollars.
Considering this, the library board analyzed our budget in recent years and has decided to allow the 0.4 mill levy to expire. Desiring to demonstrate our commitment to being good stewards of public dollars, we do not want to go to taxpayers more often than necessary.
We appreciate the support taxpayers have shown us as evidenced by successful renewals of the 0.4 mill levy every five years since 1983.
If state funding changes in the future and library funding becomes insufficient, the Champaign County Library Board of Trustees will evaluate replacing the existing 0.8 mill levy.
The Champaign County Library has been blessed with strong public support. We thank you. If you have not been to the library in a while, check us out. We’re here to help you!
Ty Henderson is director of the Champaign County Library.