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September 21, 2012

Concerned citizens grumbling over library tax rate hike

Somerset —  

Some people are fed up with increasing library taxes, and they’re planning on doing something about it. 
Nearly 30 people convened Thursday evening to discuss what meeting organizer Barbara Sanders called “runaway taxes” as set by the Pulaski County Public Library Board. 
“(I) don’t have a thing against the library and their services, but they’re not accountable to anyone,” Sanders said. 
Some at Thursday’s meeting expressed their support for the library, but others voiced frustrations with the increases. 
The public backlash began in earnest after Pulaski County Public Library Director Charlotte 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).
A particular sticking point for frustrated citizens is the fact that the library’s rate is higher than Pulaski County government’s tax rate, which was set at 5.10 cents per $100 for real and personal property for the 2012-2013 year. 
“I’m not an enemy of the library,” said former Pulaski County judge-executive Louie Floyd during the meeting. “I probably use the library as much as anyone else. We need a library.
“ ... I don’t like it when I see fiscal court taking less of your taxes than the library,” Floyd added.
The library’s budget for the 2012-2013 year totals $2,709,434. Of that, about $982,151 goes to personnel at the main branch located in downtown Somerset and at the library’s four other branches located in the county.  
Keeney said on Friday the library employs 41 people, with 20 of those categorized as part-time, in the main library and in the branches.  

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