Caseyville Library District looking to residents for an 86 percent budget increase

Credit: KMOV

The library board in Caseyville is looking to raise property taxes that fund the library by nearly double and some residents are unhappy.

Ashley Stewart is the director of the Caseyville Public Library and says their main reason for an increase in funding is to expand hours.

“We have several families where they don’t have internet, they don’t have a computer at home, so we have a lot of kids that come in night, on the couple nights we’re open late, to use the computers and get homework done,” said Stewart,

Because while most people think about a library for checking out books, computer services are one of the biggest resources. For people applying to jobs, to children doing homework.

“All of our programs are free, so anybody can come for free,” said Stewart,

But that costs money. Last year the library’s budget was $110,814. They want to increase that to $203,500. That’s an 83.6 percent increase. According to the library board, if a person owns a $80,000 home, they would pay another $25 per year towards the library.

Residents like Stacy Milligan though, have a problem with paying more.

“I’m sure they are due some money but 83.6 percent, that’s a huge amount, that’s almost double last year,” said Milligan who has lived in Caseyville for nearly 20 years.

Milligan says she hasn’t used the library in several years but was in attendance at a meeting Tuesday night with around 30 other residents unhappy about the potential increase.

Stewart and the library’s Board of Trustees answered questions, but most people seemed to think it was too much.

“That's just too much at one time for such a small village, a lot of people are hurting here trying to get by,” said Milligan.

But another woman at the meeting who frequents the library regularly said she saves much more than that tax increase by using the library.

“I have saved over $518 this year so far by checking out books at the library,” she said.

The library has 1,259 patrons in the village of about 4,500. This year they have checked out more than 8,000 items and had more than 2,000 logins on the computers.

Stewart says the funds will be used to expand hours from 30 to 60 hours, hire another part-time librarian and modify the building to meet ADA standards.

They also want to expand the library but say that expansion will be paid for with grants, not this increase. But the tax increase would be used to pay for utilities for the new expansion.

“If we don’t get this there is a chance of cutting hours, were already down to half days three days a week, were facing even more cuts,” said Stewart.

The library is its own district and the decision to increase the proposed taxes to be levied does not need to go before the people. The library’s Board of Trustees will vote on November 1. If it passes it will go into effect next year.

Copyright 2017 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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