We have been concerned for quite some time about the overall increase in taxes collected for the eight Lake County library districts. With help from the Lake County Auditor’s office, we were able to create the following schedules that will allow Lake County taxpayers to see the increases or decreases in Library property taxes by taxing district for 2018 versus 2008.
It will help if you know your taxing district. You will be able to find it on your real estate tax bill.
Please note that in 2018 the property taxes for the eight libraries is $11,455,761.88 versus $6,765,836.54 for 2008. That is a huge increase of $4,689,836.34 (69.3%) in ten years.
Let’s take a closer look at the numbers for each library district. The following schedules will compare the same 10 year period, but cover a specific library district.
Perry Public Library: Perry Public Library
Wickliffe Public Library: Wickliffe Public Library
Madison Public Library: Madison Public Library
Willoughby – Eastlake Public Library: Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library
Mentor Public Library: Mentor Public Library
Fairport Harbor Public Library: Fairport Harbor Public Library
Kirtland Public Library: Kirtland Public Library
Lake County Library District (Morley Library): Morley Public Library
The financial statistics seem to be all over the map with some having huge increases and others, such as, Wickliffe, Kirtland and Fairport Harbor with decreases. You know what that means for taxpayers in those taxing districts? It is only a matter of time, and, like the public schools, the libraries will be asking for more money.
When time permits, we will be comparing Lake County Public Libraries with other public libraries in the State of Ohio……..We believe that “quality is the result of comparison”.
We wondered what is the role or mission of today’s public library? How can we judge their performance objectively? On the State Library of Ohio website, we found documentation of “Total Circulation of Physical Materials to Library Users” statistics. Note that they add “# of uses of Public Internet” and “Annual Wireless Sessions” in their calculations. It seems that we are way past just checking out books.
When I was confronted by a taxpayer at a previous Commissioners’ meeting, I was told that I do not understand the good work Morley library does in the community. I was told that they help with the opioid problem facing Lake County. After I thought about it, I made this mental note. Isn’t that what we expect the ADAMHS Board to do for the community? What expertise does a librarian have to deal with drug and alcohol abuse issues? Why are taxpayers paying for duplicate services, especially from a group ill-equipped to handle the problems?
As we were preparing these statistics, we could not help but wonder if our current “brick and mortar”public libraries need to change with the times. There is now a large database of books that taxpayers can access from home. If we order a book on line, why not have it shipped directly to your home. What if we download the book directly to the individuals “Kindle” or other home computer? For those that need the tactile feel of a book in their hands, that will cost you extra. What about all the people that do not use the library services – should they continue to pay for services not used?
Does Lake County need eight library districts? Can we afford them? Would consolidation of the eight libraries to 2 or 3 enable a cost reduction for the taxpayers, without a reduction in services?
The pace of increase in property taxes for public libraries, like public education, is not sustainable. We are pricing (taxing) people out of their homes that they have worked all their lives to achieve.
Tomorrow, we will focus on Morley Library………stay tuned