City Council to get update on library funding optionsThe City Council was scheduled to receive an update on funding options for the Hudson Area Joint Library when it met Wednesday night.
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
The City Council was scheduled to receive an update on funding options for the Hudson Area Joint Library when it met Wednesday night.
Last February, the city and three municipal partners learned that they would have to increase their tax support for the library to avoid subjecting their residents to the county library tax as well.
The city of Hudson, village of North Hudson and towns of Hudson and St. Joseph have been exempt from the county library tax levy since the joint library was formed in 2002.
However, an overlooked state law says municipalities have to fund their libraries at the same level as the county library tax if they withdraw from the county system. That hasn’t been the case for the partners of the Hudson library.
Mayor Alan Burchill said Tuesday that he wanted to provide the council with new information on the issue.
“We’ve got the numbers under all the scenarios that are possible,” he said. “I’m just trying to keep everybody up-to-date, because it is an ever-changing situation as far the funding.”
“The funding mechanism is real strange. The more efficient you are, the less money you get. The less efficient you are, the more money you get,” he added.
He said the city was hoping that it could use the levy cap room of the other municipalities if the joint library is disbanded. But that won’t be the case, he said.
City Finance Officer Neil Soltis said that if the city and the other library partners don’t increase their tax funding for the library, their residents will be required to pay the county library tax, too, in coming years.
“In some of the instances, if you raise enough money locally to be exempt from the county library levy you’re actually going to be paying less taxes, and the library gets more money,” Soltis said.
But municipalities also are subject to a stringent state-imposed levy limit that makes it difficult to raise taxes without voter approval in a referendum.
Municipalities are limited to levy increases resulting from new building construction only, less the tax value of buildings that are demolished.
Burchill said he didn’t think there is enough time to put a question on library funding before the voters on the August primary ballot. Referendum questions now have to be filed 70 days prior to an election, he said. The previous deadline was 42 days before the election.
“It’s going to be an interesting discussion,” Burchill said regarding the library funding issue.
Soltis said the council needs to begin “winnowing down” the options on funding the library.
“I think they need to make decisions as to which direction they are going to go,” he said.