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District could run Branson, Forsyth libraries

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Posted: Friday, January 11, 2013 1:58 pm

This April, voters throughout Taney County will have an option of whether to approve a new property tax to be used to fund a countywide library district.

County commissioners approved putting the proposal, at a rate of 15 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, on the ballot last year.

The county’s library board, formed in 2011 in accordance with state statutes, has been tasked with coming up with a proposal.

Members of the board, including its president, Sarah Klinefelter, originally asked commissioners to put a levy rate of 20 cents on the ballot.

Still, Klinefelter said the board feels it could accomplish many of its goals with a 15-cent rate.

If voters approve the new tax, the board would assume the responsibilities for operations and maintenance of the Taneyhills Community Library in Branson, and the Forsyth Community Library, Klinefelter said.

The board also would hire a professional library director and information technology director, plus an additional seven to eight full-time staff for the two facilities.

That’s according to a plan approved by the board last year.

Operational hours also would be expanded at both facilities to include evenings and weekends.

Additional services including new computers, an online catalogue of books and electronic books could be added.

The board also proposed establishing community programs for different age groups and interests and educational services for home school groups and public schools, including GED and workforce development programs.

“Libraries can be economic engines, providing knowledge and learning experiences to the local workforce,” Klinefelter said.

She said previously the 15-cent rate, being lower than the originally proposed 20-cent rate, might require a reduction in some services, however.

Proposed budgets for the library district include no major capital expenditures. Repairs of existing facilities are in the budget, however.

The proposed 20-cent rate would have generated about $1.9 million a year. The 15-cent rate, if approved, will generate about $1.4 million.

“A 15-cent levy is fine,” Klinefelter said.

Taney County is the only first-class county in Missouri that does not already have an established countywide library district.

Library districts are five-member boards appointed by the county commission. Because the boards oversee the use of a separate funding source from the county’s general revenues, the board is its own legal entity and can hire and fire its own personnel.

The tax, if approved, would not have a sunset provision, unlike many other property taxes.

That issue gave Presiding Commissioner Ron Houseman some hesitation prior to approving the measure for the April ballot, he said.

Houseman noted that there are no statutes allowing library district taxes to have sunset provisions, however.

Currently, both libraries in the county are funded entirely though donations, grants and used book and thrift store item sales.

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  • Mogolfn posted at 9:14 am on Sat, Jan 19, 2013.

    Mogolfn Posts: 5

    This is not Greene county!  We live in a rural are, people don't just have to drive a few blocks to get there.
    Taney county voters just ask your self when was the last time I used the library?
    Vote NO

  • DMc posted at 11:45 am on Wed, Jan 16, 2013.

    DMc Posts: 2

    I am so disappointed to see the arguments below.  Please be informed before making your decision on this much needed benefit to our community.  Those who think libraries are obsolete should do a little more research and visit the Springfield Green County Library as an example.  

    The Taney County Library District’s goal is to provide a full service modern library system for all the citizens of Taney County.  The mission of the County Library Board is to help people in preparation for jobs, provide access to information, promote 21st century literacy and connect our communities.

    Should it pass, the TCLD will assume operations of the two private libraries: Taneyhills Community Library in Branson and Forsyth Community Library. The district will create 24 hour public access to an online catalog serving Taney County, expand library collections to serve a public library district with an emphasis on e-books, join the Missouri State Library and provide access to national and international databases like MORENET, expand availability of computer use and internet access as well as provide professional staffing, make Inter-Library loans available, offer service to outlying areas, provide computer & Internet access to those in our community who aren't afforded the luxury, promote work force development and 21st Century Literacy.  It will increase Children’s Programs, Teens & Tweens Programs, Senior Programs, assist with Home School Curriculum support and make special collections & exhibits available to our area.  This is just a SHORT list of the benefits that would be available to our area.

    My name is Deidre McCormick and I am a 45 year old native (really - I was born at Skaggs). I am serving my second term on the Forsyth School Board and I am a member of the Taney County Library District committee.  I do not consider myself old or a cronie.  I am a well-rounded, college educated individual who chose to return to this area to raise my family.

    --Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator. And change has its enemies. Robert Kennedy

  • jjyahoo posted at 8:35 am on Mon, Jan 14, 2013.

    jjyahoo Posts: 2

    Fellow Tax Payers:

    Having publicly run library is a noble endeavour and at $0.15, it is not a terribly expensive tax (about $30 per year ona $100,000 property). However, as a community, we need to look beyond the nobility of a public library. Our County and City Governments coupled with our School Districts continue to sweet talk residents of Taney County into ever higher taxes just a few cents at a time. In the year 2000 the levy in Branson was $4.13. Over the past 12 or 13 years, the Residents of Taney County have been conviced to increase that levy by $0.75 to $4.88 in 2012. I don't know about the rest of you, but I am growing weary of increasing taxes cutting into what is left of my share of my income. Although I can undersand the arguement for a public library system, let's not pass another tax that never ends. If you desire a library, donate your $30 to the Taney Hills Library.

  • Mogolfn posted at 9:55 am on Sun, Jan 13, 2013.

    Mogolfn Posts: 5

    Library's are like the postal service; close to obsolete.
    The library at Forsyth is a joke, my husband and I traveled the US for over a yr., and used many across the country for bill pay....  Forsyth charges for everything, they time you when less than 2 people r inside (which is most of the time). They r rude and loud which is not the way others operate.
    Very few use it, we need to get affordable Internet service and keep that tax money in our pockets.

  • Just me posted at 5:19 pm on Fri, Jan 11, 2013.

    Just me Posts: 143

    The board also would hire a professional library director and information technology director, plus an additional seven to eight full-time staff for the two facilities.

    Standby for the cronies to follow.
    Vote NO.