Final day nears for petitioners seeking county library expansion

Authored by Jim Langham on Jun 21, 2013

The petition process for seeking signatures of those wishing to expand the Adams Public Library System (APLS) into Monroe-Monroe Township is nearly complete, reported library director Kelly Ehinger on Thursday.
Ehinger said that if there are still those who would like to sign the petition, they should contact Leanne Tijerina (260-261-2060), Laura Christner (260-223-2325) or Holly Mishler.
On the other side of the ledger, Monroe resident Al Lehman has been feverishly leading a drive to nullify the petition effort by leading a remonstrance campaign opposing the expansion to the township.
Lehman is convinced that Monroe taxpayers would lose at least $24,130 taxes for the library services. In addition, Lehman charged that the Berne Library would lose $1,050 of card sales.
Lehman said that the net assessed value for the APLS for 2013 is $406,388,496. The net assessed value for Monroe is currently $18,007,418. Lehman said that if the new library tax were to pass, Decatur and Geneva taxes would go down a combined $24,129.94 while Monroe’s tax would initially go up by a similar amount.
“We you told that state law has established that a library only has to obtain the signature of 20 percent to win, but we now have to exceed their number (an old fashioned majority) in order to defeat their effort,” said Lehman.
Ehinger continues to maintain that homeowners will pay $2 to $3 dollars a month, amounting to between $25 and $36 a year for the new taxes.
“The formula for these numbers was verified by people at the Library Development office at the Indiana State Library,” said Ehinger. “They examined our tax rate, assessed tax bills and publicity available on the county web site.
“The current library tax rate is .1399. With each area such as Monroe/Monroe added to the library district, the rate will continue to drop. If you own a home valued at approximately $100,000 (gross), you will contribute roughly $2-$3 a month to the library for your entire household,” continued Ehinger.
Ehinger said that a homestead property with a general assessed value of $105,700 would pay $32.27 a year in library taxes.
In recent days, a group of Monroe business people and anonymous donors have founded a Monroe Library Fund, designed to pay for the $70 library cards available for those who can’t afford to purchase a card.
“The proposed tax will no longer be needed because those who cannot afford a card will now be able to get a card 100 percent free from the Monroe Library Fund,” said Lehman.
“The new program retains for all Monroe folks the freedom of choice with respect to the use of library services,” continued Lehman. “Only those who choose to use the services have any exposure to the cost, and, for the needy, that exposure is zero dollars.”
Ehinger said that in order to approve petitions, there needs to be enough interest provided by township residents to allow the library board to appropriate a resolution and publish a public notice
Ehinger said that 104 library cards have been issued representing 91 households in Monroe/Monroe Township. She said that information was determined by township records, town coding and information in their official database.
“Beginning the first day after the public notice is published, petitioners have 60 days to collect signatures supporting the library expansion,” observed Ehinger. “Signatures must include 20 percent of registered voters from Monroe/Monroe.”
Ehinger said that the completed petition is filed with the clerk of the circuit court, who will complete the certification of signatures within 15 days of receiving the petition. The clerk will then file a record of certification along with the original petition and the remonstrance that may have been filed opposing the expansion to the township.
Lehman said that those wishing to support the remonstrance should call him at 260-692-6559.

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