Parties from both sides of a debate over whether to dissolve the library board made their cases known in fiscal court this week.
“One concern I’ve got is we’re getting into a very dangerous legal situation regarding the library,” said library board attorney Bruce Orwin, during Tuesday’s Pulaski County Fiscal Court meeting.
Orwin appeared before fiscal court Tuesday, along with Pulaski County Library Director Charlotte Keeney and attorney Christian Juckett, who specializes in municipality bonding, to discuss the library’s future in the wake of a movement to dissolve the board.
The board has recently come under fire for enacting tax rate increases in the past two years, and a group of concerned citizens, led by Barb Sanders, have met informally to begin the process of dissolving the library special taxing district through voter petition in hopes of reestablishing a board under supervision of Pulaski County Fiscal Court, which currently has no authority over the library taxing district.
The board accepted what’s called a compensating tax rate for the 2012-2013 year, which means the district would receive roughly the same amount of revenue as it received the year before through tax collections. That compensating rate is determined by property values as recorded by the Pulaski County PVA Office. Property values went down slightly, which means the library board had to enact a higher tax rate to get the same amount of money.
The compensating tax rate was 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. Tax rates for personal property also went up a fraction (7.65 to 7.66 cents).
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 and that rate went up to 6.4 cents for this year.