Libraries need mill levy to preserve services

To the Editor:

Opponents of ballot measure 1A would have us believe that it is an example of wasteful taxation. But close examination will show that it is designed to protect the value of funds that Grand County taxpayers have already invested in the community.

By voting to establish the Grand County Library District the voters elected to dedicate funds to the development of a modern library system to provide important information, services and facilities to every community in the county, large and small. In carrying out this plan, the GCLD also made the decision to protect the money invested in the system by upgrading existing facilities or replacing them with more efficient ones.

In the wake of the economic downturn the GCLD underwent a severe belt-tightening exercise designed to take our libraries into the recovery. But with the very slow recovery of property values, the system is now facing even stronger obstacles to maintaining the quality of modern services our communities need and expect.

Ballot measure 1A is designed not to expand the current level of services, but to preserve it. A mill levy is not carved in stone, and the GCLD is not interested in amassing a pot of money. In any year, the district can elect to collect less than the allotted amount (in fact, it did so in 1998). As stewards of the public funds, the GCLD trustees have the duty to make that call when necessary.

If the new (lower) property values go into effect in January 2014 without a compensating increase in the mill, our community will face a slow dismantling of the system it deserves, with cutbacks in materials, hours and services in the near to middle future, and possibly more extreme measures further out. Many of these cuts would be nearly impossible or extremely expensive to put back in place even when the economy recovers.

Voting down 1A would be throwing away the time, effort, and taxes already invested in this wonderful system our community deserves. Consider this and vote in accordance with your wishes for the future of Grand County.

Jill Miles


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