The Lima News sent questionnaires to representatives for every issue on the ballot in Allen, Auglaize, Hardin, Putnam and Van Wert counties for this election section. Representatives had the opportunity to discuss the major issues with their issue. Only basic information from the board of elections identifies organizations that did not return a questionnaire yet. We continue to receive more questionnaires every day, so check back here soon to see the latest submitted answers.
PUTNAM COUNTY DISTRICT LIBRARY
Levy sought: 0.87 mill new tax levy for five years
Purpose: Current expenses for eight library locations
Cost of the levy to taxpayers: $15.23 per year for $50,000 home; $30.45 for $100,000 home
Why does your organization need the levy? State funding for libraries has declined 27 percent since 2007. The Putnam County District Library (PCDL) receives 95 poercent of its funding from the State of Ohio. Currently, there is not an operating levy to support all eight libraries of the PCDL system.
As a result, the PCDL has reduced staff and operating hours at all locations, purchased fewer books and materials, has fewer educational programs and no longer provides story-time to area childcare centers and preschools.
All libraries in Putnam County are part of the PCDL system. The money generated from the levy will support the Continental Community Library, Columbus Grove Library, Fort Jennings Library, Kalida Library, Leipsic Edwards Gamper Memorial Library, Ottawa Library, Ottoville-Monterey Twp. Library and the Pandora-Riley Township Library.
The money will not be used for any construction purposes. The new library building in Ottawa is being constructed as a result of the 2007 flood. The majority of funds used to construct the new library came from an insurance settlement. The cost to operate the new library in Ottawa is nearly the same as the former library.
The PCDL is not the only library in Ohio in this situation. Currently, 55 percent of Ohio libraries have levies. Twenty-eight libraries across Ohio will be on the ballot for the first time this November.
What will happen if the levy fails? If state funding continues to decline, there may have to be more cuts to library services and hours.
If state funding remains at current and projected levels, the library system will continue with reduced hours of operation, reduced purchases of new materials and reduced educational programs.
Submitted by Kelly Ward, director