October 25, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria library plans levy, faces challenging campaign

ELYRIA — The Elyria Public Library System will place a 1.9-mill levy on the May ballot to be seen by voters in both Elyria and Keystone school districts.

Passing the levy may be unusually difficult for the library, which will have to educate voters about the nuances of the levy that are different for various communities served by the library.

Lyn Crouse, the library’s director, said instead of focusing on the difficulties a new state law has imposed on the Elyria library, she will concentrate on the successes in past elections.

“I just keep hanging my hat on the fact that Ohioans love their libraries,” Crouse said. “The last election 25 out of 26 library levies stateside passed. Ohioans take the local support of their libraries very serious.”

Crouse said the library, which does not have taxing authority, will ask the city of Elyria to place the levy on the ballot. It is expected to raise about $2 million a year and cost the owner of a home valued at $100,000 roughly $35 a year.

In Elyria, the levy will mean no additional money for residents because they are already taxed at 1.9 mills for the library. For voters in LaGrange and LaGrange Township, it will be an increase. They pay 0.8 mills toward the library operation.

However, for residents in Elyria Township, Penfield Township and a portion of Carlisle Township, this will be a new levy. They have not paid anything for library services in the past.

“We know we have some educating to do,” she said. “We need to explain to people that the current levies will expire at the end of 2014 and this levy represents 50 percent of our operating budget. I just can’t envision what would happen if we lost 50 percent of our income.”

A survey conducted by Burges and Burges, a Cleveland-based consultant firm used by many Lorain County entities, indicates support for the levy could be positive if the message to voters is very clear.

The library will have to explain how a state law passed in 2012, aimed at reducing double taxation caused when library districts overlap, is a factor in this year’s election.

The law and subsequent wrangling over who is in and out of the Elyria district, which shared residents with the Grafton Public Library System, placed voters who previously were not taxed by the Elyria library within their service boundaries.

Residents in Elyria Township, Penfield Township and a portion of Carlisle Township fall into this category and library officials are already seeking their support.

“We’ve already been making the rounds,” Crouse said. “We are trying to hit all of them to explain that this is something that will be on the ballot in every political subdivision in our service area. The state has officially assigned them to our library district, and the state has said it must be one tax per district. This is not our choice.”

The Elyria library, a part of the ClevNet consortium, employs 70 people, 60 of whom are members of a collective bargaining group. In addition, it operates five library branches and one bookmobile that circulate more than 1 million items annually.

In recent years, the library has increased its digital offerings and will soon join Hoopla Digital, which will allow even greater access to digital movies, TV series, music and audio books.

“We’re moving toward more digital technology because that seems to be what’s driving the market right now,” Crouse said. “What’s cool about digital is you don’t have to be at the library to access material. You can be at home or work, but you have to have a library card. These are the things that represent the changing face of public libraries. I think there is real strong support in the community, but we need people to come out and show their support. Don’t just assume libraries will always be here.”

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.


  • KZ14

    Quit wasting tax dollars, LCCC has a much better library and how much are you spending a year and how much do you bring in? I’d love to hear that answer.

    • Rtgh123

      The library at LCCC is a branch of the Elyria Public Library. I’m totally NOT surprised that you don’t know this. Please supply all of the information that you have to substantiate your claim that the library is wasting tax dollars. Thank you.

    • mdr12372

      Libraries’ return on investment is 5:1. $5 for every tax dollar spent.

  • Mark B

    Get out of our Pockets , every Vote there is a levy to take more money from the working class. Support yourself or go away.

    • Rtgh123

      Support yourself, libraries! Doh dah doh! You are a mental giant.

    • Sue Lawson

      It’s only us property owners who pay. I would love if EVERYONE were taxed, but that is not how it is.

  • seanmacnair

    The library is a worthwhile resource that I have partaken of for 30 years. Staff is friendly and helpful, and whatever they don’t have I can usually get through interlibrary load. No one there is getting rich off the taxpayer’s money. Go to the library, take a look at what they offer, and then make up your mind whether this is a productive resource worthy of the taxpayer’s dollar. I say yes it is.

    • SniperFire

      ‘no one there is getting rich off the taxpayer’s money.’ That is a strawman argument which nobody is making.

      • seanmacnair

        Have some balls and sign your name. Then we can continue this discussion.

        • SniperFire

          Discussion is over. Do better next time.

      • http://comradealan.com/ Alan Pugh

        You have no idea what a strawman is.

    • Sue Lawson

      Property owners, not ALL taxpayers. If it were ALL taxpayers that would be awesome.

  • SniperFire

    It is money for union pensions and healthcare. Just tell the truth.

    • seanmacnair

      That is a strawman argument that no one is making.

      • SniperFire

        Clearly, you need to educate yourself on logical fallacy. LOL

  • Beentheredonethat

    The Public Library is the only levy I would support at this time. I do have to wonder why they feel they need to be members of a union but Libraries do so much good for the community I’ll overlook that fact and vote for a levy. Any reason why they could not vote to decertify the union? I think they would get more support from voters.

  • It has to stop

    I would support this over LCCC any day.

  • Sue Lawson

    I was wondering since some were taxed when they weren’t supposed to be, if those people received a refund. Also, sure you’re trying to win over the voters but is the property owners who will have to pay. We also pay for the public schools in our area, the library, mental health, JVC, LCCC. Geez people, this has to stop.

  • stop ur whining

    My problem with the library is mismanagement. Remember when that nice new library was built. It is nice, huge, and could easily service all of Elyria. However they had it built with out a basement which left no room for storage and forced them to keep the dump on Washington ave open costing a ton of extra money.

    Should have done it right the first time. I would be voting against this levy.