Commonwealth Journal

Local News

March 13, 2013

Library happy with tax districts bill

Veto power over hikes not given to fiscal courts

(Continued)

Somerset —

These changes, however, did not make it into the final version of the agreement that was passed Tuesday evening.
Those overseeing the Pulaski County Public Library are happy with the way things turned out.
“I liked the bill as it was; I didn’t like the amendment,” said Charlotte Keeney, director of the Pulaski County Public Library. “I’m not saying the fiscal court should not be given (influence over) an increase (in the library tax). I’m not sure they’d understand why we’d need to take the increase.”
Keeney explained that hikes in the library tax typically help offset general cost-of-operation swells across the board.
“Increase in utilities is the main thing,” she said. “Maintenance on the building is another. Those are usually the driving forces behind (tax) increases. Books go up; we can get those at a discounted rate, but those still go up. We have to keep up with equipment updates with the computers, new technology. 
“If we take the compensating rate, that usually just guarantees what we had before,” she continued. “If we had a perfect would and there was no increase in the cost of items, we wouldn’t do it (raise the tax), but we don’t operate in a perfect world.”
Last year’s petition controversy began after Keeney appeared before Pulaski Fiscal Court this past summer to inform the magistrates that the library board had elected to accept the compensating tax rate for the 2012-2013 year.
The compensating tax rate was calculated to be 6.40 cents per $100 of real property, up from 6.30 cents last year. Tax rates for personal property also went up a fraction (7.65 to 7.66 cents).
Keeney said there “needs to be more communication” between library officials and the fiscal court, to help explain the purpose behind the tax increases.

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