November 22, 2014


Elyria library to ask city to sponsor levy

Heidi Janis, of Elyria, checks out library books with her daughter Harmony, 3, at the Elyria Library Washington Avenue Branch. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

Heidi Janis, of Elyria, checks out library books with her daughter Harmony, 3, at the Elyria Library Washington Avenue Branch. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

ELYRIA — The Elyria Public Library is hoping city officials will balance the city’s financial issues with the library’s and back a library tax issue for May.

Library officials formally voted Thursday to ask the city to act as the library’s taxing authority and place a 1.9-mill levy on the May ballot to be seen by voters in both the Elyria and Keystone school districts. Library officials plan to appear before Elyria City Council on Monday to plead their case, one that will undoubtedly touch heavily on the importance of the issue — it represents 50 percent of the library system’s income.

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.

“We have always intended to go to the city with this request, but we have to legally vote that this is the direction we want to go,” said Bill McFadden, the Elyria library’s board president, at the conclusion of the quick meeting.

McFadden said he will not be able to attend Monday’s meeting, but Lyn Crouse, the library’s director, will be in attendance and encouraged the library’s other board members to attend as a sign of solidarity.

“I can’t stress enough how important this issue is to the library,” she said.

If the issue gets on the ballot, the library will have to work even harder to get it passed as it will mean different things to voters in the various communities served by the library.

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

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

Mayor Holly Brinda said Monday’s conversation will have to include some discussion about the city’s financial future, particularly how it will influence safety forces in the next 18 months.

“I really sympathize with the library. I am a longtime library supporter, but my first responsibility has to be to the city of Elyria,” Brinda said. “I’m hopeful we can figure out something that works for everybody.”

Brinda said the biggest hesitation Council may have to placing the library’s issue on the ballot is how it will fit into the city’s own levy plans for the year. No one has said Elyria will try for an issue in May or November, but the lingering need for more revenue in the city make a tax issue in 2014 all but a certainty.

“I think in some ways the city is not going to have any choice,” Brinda said. “If I had to make my best guess knowing we are continuing to work on the recommendations of the audit and with our collective bargaining units, I would say the city has some financial issues that cannot be addressed with just internal actions.”

Three issues — all related to the city’s safety forces -— are combining to create financial need for the city, according to city officials. First, the city is poised to lose a federal grant that is paying the wages of 23 Elyria firefighters this year. Second, another federal stimulus grant is doing the same thing for four Elyria police officers. Last, the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office is closing the women’s jail it operated at Elyria’s city jail and the consequence, Brinda believes, will result in 80 fewer available beds at the Lorain County Jail.

Brinda would like to fund an expansion of the Police Department’s Narcotics Unit and try to find a way to pay to keep the jail open even though she has been quoted a price of at least $500,000 a year back to the county.

“We knew the possibility of losing the jail when they signed the contract,” she said. “We are just working to find a solution because I feel it’s my responsible to make sure that when people break the law there is a consequence and a place to take them.’

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

  • Mark B

    Vote NO ., how many times in the last 5 years has there been “Just another $35.00 ” a year for a property owner to fund all of the city , schools and library’s in Elyria. Every singe election day there is “Just another $35.00″ taken in taxes for the property owner, and what is there ever given back to show for it ? Nothing. If you cant be self suficient , then close the doors and call it a day. The Taxpayers of Elyria are TAXED to death already.

    • Sue Lawson

      No, not taxpayers, PROPERTY OWNERS. I’d love it if ALL taxpayers paid. We property owners pay for local school districts, LCCC, JVS, mental health, and libraries. Property taxes are getting so bad it is like another monthly mortgage. Mark I hope you know I wasn’t yelling at you… ;)

    • Earl K.

      I should have gotten out of here the first time they nailed us with a school levy on a May ballot in 2010. If I recall correctly, nobody knew about it and it passed with only about 3k people voting on the issue. As I said above, my house payment has gone up over 20% in the last 4 years. How much of this do they expect us to take?

  • William

    It is NOT a new tax for Elyria. It is a renewal. The library offers so much more than just books these days. Free internet access and computer use, free computer classes, free programs, movies, music, books, magazines, newspapers, audiobooks, ebooks in many formats that can be downloaded on kindles nooks and other e-readers. If the Elyria library does not have what you are looking for, they are connected to clevnet, so they can bring in the items you want from other libraries for free. Many people can’t afford internet service or cable, and rely on public libraries to look for jobs online or print their resumes. There is even an outreach program that tutors adults who can’t read. Libraries are an important part of communities,and I think that they are worth every penny.

    • Mark B

      None of what you mention is FREE ! The property owners are paying for it and we are tired of it

      • William

        You’re right. Even though thousands of those tax payers use the library. IF your house is worth 100,000 you pay 35 dollars a year. Which could take you to the movies 3 times, or give you less than a full tank of gas. 7 $5 footlongs… totally not worth providing books, movies and educational programs for underprivileged children. Or space for children to do homework, computers for citizens to search for jobs, computer programs, workshops that show people how to use the new e-readers they got for Christmas. Or how to download free books for them instead of paying for books on amazon or itunes. Yeah I think i’d rather have my $35 dollars too. 10 cents a day. NOT worth it. At all.

        • Mark B

          yes, gas to take me to work so I can continue to pay the outrageous taxes !
          Underprivileged children should have a library at school. When I was in school I did my homework in my bedroom or on the kitchen table.
          When I was unemployed I went to places and put in job applications , I didn’t sit on the computer and look on craigslist. If people can afford a new E-reader then certainly they can read the instructions on how to use it ! It has been 10¢ a day for the last 100 new taxes.

          If you want to fund the Library do it through a Tax that is paid by everyone and not JUST property owners.

          • Bill Love

            I agree I would vote for a fair taxes like a sales tax lol. Mark you got to remember we are the wealthy because we own a house and make good moneythat worked hard for and didn’t ask someone to give us everything we have.

  • ken

    VOTE NO!!!!!!!! I love the library but VOTE NO !!!!! We are over taxed way to much!!

  • DR.X

    VOTE NO!!!!!!!!!!!enough already!!!

  • Mark B

    If the property owners of Elyria Vote down the Levy it is a tax Decrease , How often does that happen.
    VOTE NO , I will be

  • Mark B

    On another note , I sent a email to all of the Council people of Elyria asking why the sanitation workers get to finish their route in half a day and get to go home with a full days pay and can you believe it has been 3 days and not one single reply? Remember this when the next city tax levy comes up. The city is paying people 8 hours pay for 4 hour work!

  • Earl K.

    Unreal. Another levy. My house payment has gone up 20% since I moved here in 2009.

  • Linda Groves

    I will be voting NO on this!!! I OWN my home and I DO NOT use the library!! Why should we pay for something we don’t use!!People that do not own property should NOT have a voice in voting if MY taxes go up or not!!!

    • Joe S.