Commonwealth Journal

Local News

November 3, 2012

Library clash in overdrive

Somerset —  

The firestorm over questions of the future of the Pulaski County Public Library — spurred on by a petition to dissolve the library’s board in the face of tax increases — grew even more this week. 
Nearly 200 people, many of them there to show their support of the library and to speak out against the petition that could lead to its closing, heard from both sides of a debate that has sparked impassioned reactions from Pulaski Countians during Thursday’s informal meeting at the Pulaski County Public Library. 
“This is really not a library where you can rent out books for a week or two, it’s a cultural institution and a wonderful asset to this wonderful community that we have here in Somerset, Ky.” said Chris McNevin. “We can’t let this close down because of some silly damn tax business.”
The controversy over the library’s tax rates — and the ensuing revelation that to dissolve the library board would mean the library’s closing — has been brewing for several months now. 
Pulaski County Fiscal Court, which had already taken some heat from citizens last year after the library enacted a tax increase, expressed frustrations earlier this year over a lack of oversight for the library’s special taxing district. The court has no authority over the library board, which is made up of appointed board members who get no compensation, and the county’s magistrates made it known that they didn’t agree with how things were set up, stating that they dealt with angry citizens for tax rates they couldn’t even influence. 
The library board accepted for the 2012-2013 year what’s called a compensating tax rate, calculated to be 6.40 cents per $100 of real property, up from 6.30 cents last year. That means a person who owns property assessed at $100,000 would pay around $64. 

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