April 17, 2014

Elyria
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Grafton library levy defeat likely will mean cutting hours

GRAFTON — The Grafton-Midview Public Library probably will have to cut operating hours in the wake of the defeat of a 1.5-mill levy, said library board president Bob Lessing.

“We will have to cut almost immediately,” Lessing said.

The vote was 3,100 for the levy or 47.96 percent and 3,364 or 52.04 percent against it, according to unofficial election returns. The 1.5-mill levy would have cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $46 a year.

Already, the library is closed on Sunday and open just four hours on Saturday, so Lessing is not sure how the library will cut operating hours to deal with the loss.

The library operated about 65 years without a levy, but a 30 percent cut in state funding left the independent library with few options because 95 percent of its operating dollars comes from the state, Library Director Adele Infante has said. The rest of its budget is derived from fines, grants and donations.

This year, the library was supposed to get $641,000 from the state, but $65,000 in cuts brought that down to $576,000, she said.

The library just made $90,000 in additional cuts, bringing the budget to $486,000, and more cuts might be needed, Infante said.

She predicted the library at 983 Main St. might have to close one or two days a week if the levy failed.

The library also has cut back on buying materials, supplies and printing and eliminated a popular — but expensive — database where library patrons can download movies.

The Grafton-Midview Public Library is the only Lorain County public library not funded by any type of a levy, Infante said.

Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or cleise@chroniclet.com.