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EXPLAINER: Laclede County Library tax levy

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 6:15 PM CDT
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LACLEDE COUNTY, Mo. (KY3) - Laclede County residents will see a tax related to the library on the special election ballot next Tuesday.

The question asks residents if they want to increase the tax to 20 cents per $100 on their property taxes. The money pays for needs supporters say will keep the library open. Back in 1966, Laclede County residents actually passed the current tax rate.

“That was the last time anybody voted for the levy. Then back in 1985, the Hancock amendment came through and rolled back the tax rate not just for the library, but they rolled back school districts, ambulances, they rolled back every single tax entity just to manage all of those taxes and kind of get things back to the basics,” said Melinda Fries, Chairperson for the Love our Library Campaign Committee.

Fries said they are asking for the tax now because up until this year they were able to manage.

“We did that because there was no internet at the time, we had a much smaller facility, we had far fewer staff. And we certainly didn’t have the cost that we see now. Not just in maintaining a facility this size, 41,000 square feet, but also in and managing all of the repairs and managing all of the staffing, salary, benefits, insurance, all the really boring things that are required to keep the library going,” said Fries.

Some of the money will go to upgrades at the library.

“That will allow us to maintain our facilities, cover the insurance costs, the lighting, the air conditioning, fix the flooring that’s almost 20-years-old, replace very old bathroom stalls because we like to have a nice clean facility, we need to put light posts in our parking lot, we’re just not able to get enough light when it’s really dark. And we want our patrons to feel safe in our parking lot,” said Fries.

If passed, the library will be getting about $300,000 in revenue.

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