Commonwealth Journal

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November 3, 2012

Library clash in overdrive


Somerset —

The compensating rate will give the district 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 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. 
The newest tax increase resulted in a petition to dissolve the library board, and a petition is the only way to do so, as the special taxing district was created through voter petition. That document has been circulating since September. 
“I’m for the taxpayer,” said citizen Barbara Sanders on Thursday, who has spearheaded the petition effort. “That’s who I’m for. I’m just sick and tired of the tax increases.
“ .. We would like to see some accountability to the taxpayers,” Sanders continued. “Currently there is none.” 
But the issue became more complex  when the library board came out with information provided to them from the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA) that stated the library, which is millions of dollars in debt due to the construction of the new building that began operations in 2008, would close down should the board be dissolved. 
Case law and state statutes suggest the board would cease to function in the aftermath of a petition to dissolve the district — except only to repay the library’s debt. 
“It is our opinion that the library would close and all staff would be terminated (with the possible exception of an administrator to oversee the debt repayment), as continuing operation of the library cannot be considered as necessary for the repaying of existing debts,” stated Terry L. Manuel, branch manager in program development for the KDLA, in a letter to Pulaski County Library Director Charlotte Keeney dated Oct. 9. “ ... Further, the buildings and all furniture, books, and other material items would be subject to sale in order to satisfy existing debts.”

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