The Herrick Memorial Library will get the help it’s seeking from voters, as its 1.25-mill operating levy passed on Tuesday, pending certification from the Lorain County Board of Elections.
A 0.48-mill addition was added this year to a 0.77-mill renewal, which is the first time since 2007 that new money has been requested by the library. It passed by a 54 to 46 percent margin among 4,370 voters.
It will add approximately $284,000 to Herrick’s budget that will become eligible for spending in 2018.
The measure asks taxpayers for $38.84 per year for every $100,000 of property valuation, an increase of $15.84 over the previous levy renewal. The addition is meant as a way for the library to account for state budget cuts and an increase in services such as helping residents file unemployment paperwork.
Library director Janet Hollingsworth was happy with the result but said she and others will work on ways to quell apprehensions among voters wary of the tax increase.
“While I was watching the numbers come in I saw it was pretty close,” she said. “I’m very, very happy. We didn’t win by a lot but we won. That just means there’s more work for me to do to find out what the people who voted against it want. I’m just delighted that enough people understood the importance of the library to our community.”
She said one of the first things the new money will go toward is increasing the library’s materials budget.
“We’ll be able to purchase many new books in both fiction and non-fiction categories,” she said. “I think we’re pretty strong on the databases that we offer. This will give us a chance to offer new programs for groups such as seniors and adult readers. We’ll work on new ways to get young adult readers into the library too.”
Hollingsworth said she understands worries that pop up when the words “tax increase” are mentioned.
“A tax increase impacts a lot of people,” she said. “We can show them that we can make this money work that ends up serving them and the entire community. I think the new services we’ll provide will help them see that.”
In the closing weeks of the election, she said doubts crept up in her own mind about whether she had done enough to get the levy passed.
“It was a lot of work and a lot of second-guessing myself,” she said. “I kept thinking about what else I could have done. Everyone at the library wants to extend a thank you to the voters.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.