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Politics

Springfield-Greene County Library Studies Property Tax Increase

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/springfiel_580.mp3

The Springfield-Greene County Library District is looking into putting a property tax increase on the ballot in the spring. KSMU's Michele Skalicky has more.

Officials with the Springfield-Greene County Library District say, at this point, they expect the property tax increase would fund seven projects. Jeanne Duffey is spokesman for the library district.

"One would be major repairs and renovations to the Midtown-Carnegie Branch, which, as you know, is 105-years-old, a beautiful Carnegie building but always needing work on those leaded glass windows and the steps, and we'd also like to repair water damage to the basement walls and make it more usable. In addition, we'd also like to relocate the Brentwood Branch Library to a larger facility. We would also then like to turn to the county branches and look at Ash Grove, Fair Grove and Republic and Willard. We would like to make all those larger facilities and then we're also looking at a small branch east of Highway 65."

The Brentwood Branch would possibly relocate one block west to a building currently occupied by the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks.

An increase would mean that a person who owns a 100,000-dollar home would pay an additional $7.50 each year. The tax increase would sunset after ten years.

Library officials say they want to be sure the majority of the public wants the improvements and upgrades before the issues are placed on the April 2008 ballot.

"We are always big on asking the people what they want and would they support this before we go out for a tax levy. What we are planning is April 2008, so before then we plan to do focus groups and take surveys."

The library district conducted a phone survey in mid October. 57% of frequent voters said they'd support a capital tax levy, 39% said they'd oppose the tax, and 4% said they were undecided, not sure or didn't know.

The library plans to hold focus group meetings—they'll hold some next week at the Brentwood Branch Library—as well as conduct additional surveys up until the filing deadline of January 29, 2008.

The operating tax levy for the Springfield-Greene County Library District is currently 24.14 cents per $100 assessed valuation of property in Greene County. Currently, property owners in the county pay an average of $50 each year to support the 8 library branches and the bookmobile.