Levy renewal would support M-U library

By Matt Clevenger

For Miami Valley Today

WEST MILTON — The Milton-Union Public Library is working to educate local voters about a 0.7 mill levy that provides almost a third of the library’s annual budget, and is up for renewal this year.

“It’s a five-year renewal,” library fiscal officer Marjorie Coate said. “We get about $385,000 from the state, and this levy brings in around $126,000.”

“We’re in the process of putting out our signs again,” she said. “The very first time we had signs, and we have kept them and put them back out.”

Originally passed in 2011, the levy started out as a solution to drastic cuts in state funding that year. Since then, it has become an important part of the libraries annual budget.

“We have some small donations,” Coate said. “The main money for the library is going to be the local library fund from the state and the 0.7 mill real estate tax.”

“Each year, the Ohio Library Council has asked the state to increase the amount of revenue that they give to libraries,” she said. “We’re still trying each year to get that back, and then we would just drop the levy if that were to ever happen. But for now, we need the money to keep it open for the number of hours we do, and to provide the programs that we do.”

The levy applies to all residents of Union Township, including incorporated and unincorporated areas. The Milton-Union Public Library currently serves approximately 6-7,000 patrons, and funds generated by the tax levy are used to cover a wide variety of expenses, ranging from repairs and building maintenance to the cost of hosting programs and events.

“We’ve had a bunch of major repairs, but we’ve managed to deal with them,” Coate said. “We’ve had quite a few roof repairs.”

“We have a ton of programs,” she said. “We have programs almost every day. Our summer reading program is real big, we have story hour for children, they go out and do story hour at different places.”

“We have a Halloween room each year,” she said, “and we probably have 6-700 people come. Last year there were even more.”

Those programs are one area where the library will have to make cuts, if voters don’t renew the levy.

“First we would probably have to cut programs and time to start with,” Coate said so whether that means closing earlier or not opening for as many hours. That would be where we would start.”