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Tax levy increase considered for Holts Summit library funding

Tax levy increase considered for Holts Summit library funding

July 23rd, 2019 by Shelby Matthews in Local News

Julie Smith/News Tribune Alexis Seeney, 8, at left, and Lily Cornine, 7, middle, both from A Place to Grow in Holts Summit, join Morgan Sisk, 9, at right, to color in printed drawings as they take part in activities at the Holts Summit Public Library. Parents, grandparents and daycares brought dozens of youngsters to the library Wednesday for the Magic School Bus Celebration during which children colored drawings, made crafts and dabbled in science experiments. They were encouraged to take chances, make mistakes and get messy while participating in the fun.

Callaway County voters could see a levy increase on the ballot next year to increase funding for the new Holts Summit Public Library.

The Holts Summit library opened its doors in March and has since circulated more than 14,000 items such as books and movies.

"The community has responded really positively," said Margaret Conroy, executive director of the Daniel Boone Regional Library. "We've been really pleased and hope to expand in the future."

The Daniel Boone Regional Library system, based in Columbia, operates library districts for Boone and Callaway counties, including the Columbia Public Library, Southern Boone County Public Library in Ashland and Callaway County Public Library in Fulton.

The Holts Summit library's current hours are 3-6 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Wednesdays it's open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. In order to expand regular business hours, the library could need a tax levy to fund it.

The main cost in expanding the library's hours would be staffing, followed by programming and basic operations, such as utilities. An increase in the tax levy could allow the library to add materials and could also provide more services for the Fulton library.

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"Ninety-five percent of funding for our libraries come from property taxes," Conroy said.

Anytime a public library needs more funding, it has to pass a levy increase.

The current library levy in Callaway County, approved by voters in 2000, is 20 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

The library district is considering a 6-cent increase, which would raise the levy to 26 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

The Callaway County library district's Board of Trustees will hold a public levy setting meeting sometime in the next few months. The library district will then work with the Callaway County clerk to place the issue on a Callaway County ballot. They hope to see it on the ballot in April 2020.

Before the Holts Summit library opened at 188 W. Simon Blvd., the city's library resources came via stops from the Daniel Boone Regional Library bookmobile.

The new library has been hosting events such as children's programs, genealogy and technology classes.