ADA — Ada residents showed overwhelming support for their library on Tuesday, casting ballots in favor of the institution’s one mill renewal levy by just over a three-to-one margin. All told, 2,381 votes were cast, with 1,792 voters supporting the levy and only 589 opposed.
“We’re pretty excited about the fact that the levy passed,” said Amanda Bennett. “We were fairly confident that it was going to pass, but you always have that little bit of doubt anytime you are asking for help or money. I was really impressed with how much it passed by.”
Facing declining revenue from the State and ever-increasing operating costs, the library’s board of directors placed the renewal levy on the ballot to offset these factors and improve services. A statement on the library’s website explained the need.
“Through 2015, Ohio public libraries had functioned at the same budgeted amounts as they had in 2005!,” the statement reads. “In recent years the Ohio Library Council (OLC) and public libraries across Ohio began a statewide campaign to educate legislators on the importance of funding Ohio’s libraries, and the impact these institutions have in their communities. Resulting from these efforts was the passage, by the Ohio General Assembly, of a bill restoring some of the funding to the Public Library Fund (PLF), increasing the percentage of the state’s General Revenue Fund (GRF) to 1.7% for the fiscal year (FY) 16 and FY 17 biennium.”
“However, the resetting of the PLF is temporary, and the state funding may be cut again in the future for libraries,” the statement continues. “In addition to the uncertain nature of state PLFs, the cost of operating the Library continues to rise; some of the less obvious but costly expenses include items such as utilities, materials (books, movies) and research databases, office supplies, computers, property insurance, and government mandated expenses such as public employee retirement benefits, worker’s compensation insurance and routine financial audits.”
In the end, Ada residents heard the message and responded, rising to the occasion and showing their support for a village institution.
“It takes a village,” Bennett said. “We are very fortunate that Ada is so supportive.”