Vote ‘yes’ and support library district |

Vote ‘yes’ and support library district

On Tuesday, Nov. 7, voters will have a chance to support an institution that is so much more than just rooms full of books. The Garfield County libraries want to take a big step into the future by forming and funding a stand-alone district. The time couldn’t be riper. Although the county supports the libraries with a one-quarter cent sales tax, it’s not enough to expand or replace aging buildings, nor to fully staff them.Two questions will be on the ballot, 1A and 1B, which will ask voters to approve additional property tax to fund library building improvements including relocating and expanding the size of the Glenwood Springs library and expansion of the Carbondale, Rifle, Silt and New Castle libraries. The 1 mill levy would cover building projects and would raise about $2.5 million annually. The second question asks voters to approve keeping the current one-quarter cent sales tax to cover operations costs for the libraries.About 80 percent of libraries in Colorado are part of independent library districts, which levy property taxes with voter approval. Garfield County libraries are administered and funded by county government. As a department of the county, libraries compete with roads, social services, and airports, among other county-funded departments, for a piece of the county’s budget.A library district would be the answer to what has long been a marginally funded library system in the county. And it would give the libraries some autonomy in how they shape their future.It just makes good sense. We encourage voters to check Yes on 1A and 1B.

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