The library tax rate increased in 2009 to 6 cents per $100 of real property, and that rate stayed the same in 2010. It increased in 2011 to 6.30 cents per $100.
Early this year, Pulaski County 4th District Magistrate Glenn Maxey grilled Pulaski County Library Director Charlotte Keeney on the 2011 tax rate when she came before fiscal court to ask that two board members retains their seats.
At that time, Keeney vowed that she would keep fiscal court involved, and updated on any possible tax increase.
That didn’t happen prior to the 2012 tax hike, according to Bullock.
“We need to look at their budget,” Bullock said. “We need to look for things that would warrant a tax increase.
“They (the magistrates) are not asking anything unreasonable,” Bullock added. “They just wanted to be included a little bit more.”
Strunk stood firm on his statement that a tax increase should be “the final option.”
“I know (the tax increase) really doesn’t seem like much, but in this economy, no one wants to pay additional taxes,” Strunk said. “Sometimes you just have to cut back.”
Although Keeney has said the library has done some belt-tightening since 2009, Strunk wonders if there could be more measures taken.
“Businesses all over are having to cut people, cut programs ... it’s reality in these economic conditions,” Strunk said. “The library board has not shown us where they’ve cut anything.
“A few years ago, fiscal court had to cut $2 million from the county budget,” Strunk added. “When we got finished, we had the jailer mad, the road department mad, the sheriff mad ... but we certainly didn’t want to raise taxes. We either had to make some major cuts or raise taxes, and we decided to make the cuts.”
Both Bullock and Strunk said communication between the library board and fiscal court is a necessity to avoid future blowups.