GCLD proposes mill levy increase to BOCC

At the August 23 Grand County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meeting the Grand County Library District (GCLD) proposed an increased mill levy for the November election to pay off their debt, balance their budget, and maintain services and branches. If approved, the mill levy would increase from 2.41 mills to 3.36 mills, a .95 increase. According to the GCLD, this results in a property tax increase of $8 a year on a $100,000 home.

According to the GCLD, the mill levy increase will raise enough money to pay their $4.5 million debt 10 years early, and by paying off the debt in 10 years, they will save Grand County tax payers $1.2 million in interest payments—money they will not have to pay out in the end. By using money from the mill levy to pay their yearly debt payments they will be freeing up cash to run the district. According to the GCLD, getting rid of the debt as quickly as possible is the fiscally responsible thing to do to help them move towards a balanced budget. The mill levy sunsets in 10 years when the debt is paid, so this way the GCLD will not be asking for more from tax payers than absolutely needed.

Mary Chance, GCLD board member pointed out that this does not ultimately mean that they will never have to cut services again, but by increasing the mill to pay off the debt early the GCLD can focus on their future and the library users when property values recover or the Henderson Mill picks back up again. According to a slide show presentation from the GCLD, they have crunched the numbers, and by taking care of the debt payment, tightening the budget, and cutting central services they can maintain their branches for the immediate future.

One concern about the proposed ballot question, raised by Commissioners Linke and Manguso, and County Assessor Tom Weydert was the wording, which was written by an outside law firm hired by the GCLD.

The original question states what the money from mill levy can be used for including: “to pay off the district’s outstanding lease-purchase financing; to operate, maintain and improve library facilities and library services; and for any other uses permitted by law.”

The phrase in question was “any other uses permitted by law.”

Weydert and Commissioners Linke and Manguso agreed that if the GCLD could make the phrase more clear as to what the money would be used for, it may be more palatable for voters.

The GCLD plans to return the question to the firm that wrote it and represent the mill levy proposal at the Tuesday, September 6 BOCC meeting.

Chance said the library district will be coming up with two budgets in October: one for if the mill levy passes, and one for if it does not.

Commissioners Manguso and Linke also said they are willing to help the GCLD store belongings in the Administrative building if the GCLD central services building, which is currently listen on the market, sells.

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