Commonwealth Journal

News Live

November 5, 2012

Petitioners say they don’t want library to fail


Somerset —

The newest tax increase resulted in the petition to dissolve the library board, which is the only way to do so, as the special taxing district was created through voter petition. That document has been circulating since September. 
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. The library and its branches would close, and the assets of the library would be sold off to satisfy the debt. 
 The library’s debt stands at about $9,507,830. 
An Attorney General opinion (OAG 79-102) also states a library tax would still exist until the debt is paid off. State law also forbids the creation of a second special district while the first district is still in existence. So, essentially, a board under authority of fiscal court could not be created until the library’s debts are paid off, at which point the first board would be completely dissolved. 
The debate over the issue has intensified, and emotions have run high, resulting in many people to circulate messages on social networks such as Facebook about the library’s possible future should the petition pass.
“We want to eliminate all of the emotions from the issue and provide a rational look at the concerns of the citizens who want to look at the board’s activities and not shut the library down,” said Wiese. 
Wiese is helping the group research several questions of state statute that outline bonding practices, appointment procedures for board members, and more. Sanders said she and the petition’s supporters just want a sense of accountability within the county’s special taxing districts.
“We just want accountability to the taxpayer,” said Hines. “Don’t raise any more taxes until you show me you need it.”
Since Thursday’s meeting, many have encouraged those who signed the petition to contact Sanders to have their names stricken from the document. Sanders said that she herself had received requests from around 20 people to have their names removed from the petition as of Monday afternoon. 

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