Commonwealth Journal

Columns

November 9, 2012

Library petition is fruitless ... but here’s some ideas

Somerset —  

We have a conundrum in our community.
Many people resent the Pulaski Library Board raising taxes every year. They resent it so much that a petition drive is underway to dissolve the taxing district.
But that would lead to the Pulaski County Public Library closing.
And no one wants that, either.
So what do we do?
As it turns out, you just can’t fire library board members and replace them indiscriminately.
Kentucky law has taxing districts protected from a lot of political interference. And it’s hard to argue that’s an altogether bad thing.
On the other hand, the library board members answer to no one. So they can set the tax rate at whatever they see fit.
And if the public tries to disarm the board, the whole thing blows up.
So the petition drive is really a fruitless venture.
The debt on the new library is over $9 million. That debt will be paid off no matter what happens with the petition.
The stark reality is this: If the petition is successful and fiscal court dismantles the taxing district, then the library system in Pulaski County will collapse and your tax dollars (yes, you will still be taxed) will go toward paying off the debt.
And the beautiful structure we are so proud of will sit empty.
I simply believe the petitioners are barking up the wrong tree with their drive — especially since the library taxing district, with its huge debt, is booby-trapped. You mess with it and the result is the disastrous closing of our library.
For what it’s worth, here are my suggestions:
• Instead of petitioning for the dissolution of the library taxing district, why don’t the concerned citizens turn their attention to the legislation that covers it? Perhaps those laws should be altered to allow for some oversight by elected officials.

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