The wording on the ballot may seem confusing to some, but the issue is not. We urge the voters of Hill County to make permanent a 3-mill tax levy that voters decided to place on themselves five years ago to provide more money for the Havre-Hill Country Library.
If you vote for this levy on Tuesday, your tax rate won't increase. Property owners have been paying this tax since voters overwhelming adopted it in 1998 by a margin of 3,456 to 2,050 - or 63 percent to 37 percent.
Voters approved it for five years. If voters don't extend it on Tuesday, our local library will lose at least $72,000 in funding that can't be made up elsewhere.
If the tax is not renewed, the library will have to look at areas to cut.
"When and if it happens, we'll certainly have to look at the hours we're open and staff positions and the computer services we offer," said library director Bonnie Williamson.
The library is open 50 hours a week, and serves and average of 183 people a day. It is home to 64,530 books, 1,059 audio cassettes and 1,359 video cassettes, and subscribes to 134 periodicals. Last year it circulated 22,377 children's titles and 73,855 adult titles. It hosted 77 special programs.
In Hill County, one in every two residents has a library card. According to Williamson, the national rate is one in six.
The library enjoys widespread community support and people likely want to continue providing that support.
The key for voters to remember when they go to the polls on Tuesday is that they are not being asked to pay for a tax increase for the library. They are simply being asked to continue a level of support they embraced five years ago.