MRRL BOARD APPROVES PLACING LEVY INCREASE ISSUE ON AUGUST BALLOT IN COLE AND OSAGE COUNTIES

Wed, 03/21/2012
Contact Name: 
Christen Jackson
Contact Email: 
jacksonc@mrrl.org
Contact Phone: 
573-634-6064 ext. 247

JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri River Regional Library Board of Trustees at its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, voted to place a levy increase issue on the August ballot in Cole and Osage counties. It is the first time since 1964 that the library board has asked voters to increase the institution’s operating levy.
The current voter approved levy sits at $0.20 and voters will be asked to raise that to $0.30.
Currently, owners of a $100,000 home in Cole County pay $38.00 annually and Osage County voters pay $33.00 annually in support of the library. If the proposed increase was approved, the home owner in Cole County would pay an additional $20.00 for a total of $58.00 annually and the Osage County voter would pay an additional $20.00 to $53.00.
“Missouri River Regional Library’s funding has remained flat since 2009, unfortunately during that time expenses have continued to rise,” said Tricia Schlechte, board treasurer and chair of the ad hoc committee set up to study the levy issue. “The Board recognizes the challenges the current economic climate places on individuals and the business community. The library faces these same issues. Additional funding will allow the library to continue and expand the outstanding services that our community relies on. New revenue would be used to implement bar code identification of all materials to increase efficiency in circulation processes; expand services to rural areas of the counties; increase the number of holdings; and replace aging heating, ventilation and cooling systems, and elevators in the main library which was built in 1974.”
Currently, Missouri River Regional Library has 56,873 cardholders which means that 63.3 percent of Cole and Osage counties residents possess a MRRL library card.
The vast majority, 95.3 percent, of MRRL’s budget is dependent on local funding. Other sources of income include:
• State aid – 1 percent
• Fines – 1.5 percent
• Copies/printouts - .43 percent
• Booksale - .53 percent
“In 2011, more than 340,000 people used the services provided by the libraries in Jefferson City, Linn and the bookmobile, a 5.5 percent increase since 2010,” said Schlechte. “We are enormously proud of that and appreciate the community’s support of the library.”
However if additional funding is not provided, the library could be forced to further reduce material lines, reduce programming and shorten operating hours.
“The community clearly has a strong need for this library and all that it provides,” said Schlechte. “It is a valuable resource for all residents.”
The Missouri River Regional Library Board is composed of members from the Jefferson City/Cole County Board and Osage County Library District Board. Each of these boards must also approve placing the levy increase on the ballot for their respective jurisdictions. The Osage County Board will meet on March 23 at the Osage County Library in Linn and the Jefferson City/Cole County Board will meet at the Main Library Annex Conference Room on March 27.