July 26, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
66°F
test

Library levy would cost taxpayers more than publicized

ELYRIA — Campaign literature distributed by Citizens for Elyria Public Library to promote the Elyria library issue included incorrect figures in illustrating how much the levy will cost affected Lorain County taxpayers.

In initial stories, the group incorrectly quoted the cost of Issue 3 at less than $3 a month per $100,000 of home value. The accurate number is less than $6 per month for the same amount of home value.

The incorrect figures were repeated numerous times, including in news articles and editorials published by the Chronicle-Telegram, based on information provided by the citizens’ group.

Lyn Crouse, library director, said the error was hers. Issue 3 is a 1.9-mill continuing levy to replace two levies that will expire at the end of the year.

“It was a misinterpretation and it may well have been my fault,” she said. “I believe I misunderstood in what the county auditor said is a mill and millage. I really think it was me that interpreted it wrong, making the mathematical error.”

Lorain County Auditor Craig Snodgrass said the cost of the library levy is $66.50 a year per $100,000 of home value. Coming up with that figure is done with a simple math equation that works for all property tax issues.

It is 100,000 times 0.35 (the taxable rate) times 1.9 (or the millage) divided by 1,000.

Elyria property owners pay $66.50 a year now because they are already levied at 1.9 mills.

Taxpayers in LaGrange Township are being asked to pay 1.9 mills instead of the 0.8 mills they’ve been paying. The owner of a $100,000 home, who has been paying $24.48 per year, would pay $38.50 more, or $3.20 a month.

Taxpayers in Elyria Township, Penfield Township and part of Carlisle Township have not been paying for library services, so the 1.9 mills would be a new tax for them, costing about $66 a year for a home valued at $100,000.

The levy issue was complicated for the Elyria library long before this error. A state law that aimed to rid taxpayers of paying tax levies to two library districts affected the library.

The library system collects taxes from all property owners in Elyria, including those in the Midview school district. The property owners in the Midview district also are paying taxes for the Grafton-Midview Public Library.

The state’s solution was to define the library’s taxing boundaries and limit the Elyria library to collecting taxes in the Elyria and Keystone school districts.

Ronald Salo, of Elyria, was the resident who discovered the error. He called Snodgrass believing the figure was too low. Snodgrass confirmed the math was incorrect.

“We thank Mr. Salo for bringing this oversight to our attention,” Crouse said. “As librarians who are accustomed to checking and double-checking, we are embarrassed that we did not catch this error earlier. We are taking every opportunity to correct it.”

The levy campaign will issue a final mailing to residents next week with the correct cost.

Crouse said she can only hope the levy chances have not been jeopardized.

“For the people who support the library, hopefully this levy doesn’t affect that support,” she said.

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

  • SniperFire

    There’s a shocker. They lied, got caught. Who is going to be fired?

    Now the homeowner knows the cost is twice as much as advertised. Thank you Lisa for doing some good reporting.

    How about an analysis on Issue 2 where they claim it is ‘Not a Tax (then add the word ‘increase’ in little letters)?

    • Sue Lawson

      I am tired of hearing, “it’s only going to cost….” Yeah, but add that to all the other things property owners pay for and it adds up to a lot. We are stuck paying whether the levy passes or not, this will just raise our property taxes higher if it passes.

    • puh_leez

      You missed the part where the citizen that realized the error called the library and the library called the newspaper to point on the mistake! The Chronicle didn’t uncover it, a citizen did and the library reported it.

  • Sis Delish

    Vote No on Everything this Year related to the words “Levy” ‘Tax” or “Renewal”.

    Librarians are notorious for demanding that Fines and Late Fees be paid. Fairness dictates the same when they are late to the Truth. Fine them by Voting No.

    • Sue Lawson

      My husband and I are both voting no on everything that raises property taxes.

  • oldruss

    Why did the library director even attempt to quantify the tax? Leave that to the auditor’s office. A simple phone call could have gotten the correct information. Compounding the “mistake” is that it was repeated, and repeated again. “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it,” said Joseph Goebbels, German Minister of Propaganda.

    As for the magnitude of the “mistake”, as SniperFire pointed out, the “mistake” amounts to a doubling of the amount of the tax for a $100,000 property, $6 per month versus $3 per month). That’s some “mistake”, and amounts to a “big lie”.

  • Tam McDee

    I’m glad that the correct information is being put out there, but I don’t believe anyone has any reason to think ill of the library and its employees. Successful people make honest mistakes and it is more than likely that that is what happened here. I am a frequent user of the Elyria Public Library and have come to know its staff well, so I believe they are just as surprised by this as we are.

    As for librararians being “notorious for demanding that Fines and Late Fees be paid,” that is literally their job. Contrary to popular belief, fines being paid do not go directly into library staff pay checks. They’re not asking that fines be paid for their own benefit, but for the benefit of the library and the community, and as an active member of this community, I can appreciate that and be thankful for it.

    The word “lie” is far too harsh here. It was a mistake and we’re all human. I love the library and all of their programs and I hardly think that $6 is something to say no to for the benefit of keeping the EPL system in business. I will most certainly be voting YES for Issue 3.

    Thank you to everyone that saw that the correct figure was put out there. The information is appreciated.

    • oldruss

      But why couldn’t the library have put out the “correct information” from the beginning? Everyone connected with this levy campaign, from the library director down to acolytes who join in the cheerleading in support of the levy, should have made very sure they weren’t understating the cost of this levy by half. That, my friends, is the lie, and it was allowed to be repeated well after early voting and absentee ballots were cast.

      (And, Tam, it really is bad form to “like” your own post.)

      • Tam McDee

        I’m sure the only reason that the wrong information was bounced around for so long was because they believed they had the correct numbers from the start and therefor there would have been no reason to check and check again. It’s a mistake that’s made in many aspects of life and in many careers. A lie would have been something intentional, but this, I can tell, was not.

        And why should I care what you believe is bad form? Why should I care about social norms as long as I’m not hurting anyone? Besides, that is hardly the point. Support for the library can never be a bad thing.

        • SniperFire

          ‘I’m sure the only reason that the wrong information was bounced around for so long was because they believed they had the correct numbers from the start ‘

          You are sure of it, on account of you wuvs going to the library.

          • Tam McDee

            Excuse me, but do you have to be rude and immature about it?? Seriously, grow up.

            I’m not claiming to be an expert, I’m just claiming to know more about the library than people that do not use it at all or do not get involved in the programs they have to offer. I participate in their fund raising events and have supported them for years.

          • SniperFire

            ‘I’m not claiming to be an expert, I’m just claiming to know more about the library than people that do not use it at all’

            No, you are claiming to know this was not an intentional deception from a public institution, just because you use the services. That is like claiming you know how Proctor and Gamble makes decisions just because you use Tide detergent.

            Do you enjoy being lied to by our institutions for the ‘greater good’? And there is no reason to answer that. It was rhetorical.

          • Tam McDee

            But I’m going to stand up for myself so I answered it anyway.

            I’m not going to say much else on the issue because it’s not my place to speak in the name of the library, but I highly suggest you actually go there and ask the kind employees for information on the levy including what the money would be spent on and what the community will lose if the levy doesn’t pass. They got one number wrong, I do not feel I have been lied to. The intelligent thing to do is to form your opinion based on information from all parties involved. Do some research first- I have, and they have a lot to offer. Good day.

          • SniperFire

            ‘ They got one number wrong, I do not feel I have been lied to. ‘

            Who cares what your ‘feelings’ are? They either knowingly deceived the public, or they are pathetically incompetent. Vote NO.

          • Mark B

            Let those who use the Library pay for it . The property owners have been funding it for years. Its Time for someone else to fund it for awhile. You know pay their fair share , like Obama Says !!!!!!!

          • johns62

            lets do that with fire levies too, By the time they process you credit card, your house will be leveled. smart

          • Mark B

            How about Elyria move to a full Volunteer department , then we could have a Quality Fire Department

          • Sue Lawson

            I agree Mark. Our property taxes would be so low if we didn’t have to pay for the libraries, mental health, LCCC, JVS, our local schools. I am probably forgetting something.

        • oldruss

          “I’m sure the only reason that the wrong information was bounced around for so long was because they believed [it].”
          That was Goebbels’ point. Big lies told long enough will be believed by the gullible masses.

          • johns62

            really, Goebbel’s? How about Ollie North?

    • SniperFire

      The library wasn’t lying when they told the tax was half of what it really is.

      LCCC isn’t lying by telling us their new program for likely 4 year college grads is ‘fighting back’ on their abysmal 2 year grad rate.

      Keystone wasn’t lying by telling us their school levy is tied to building a recreation center in the city of LaGrange.

      I have some nice oceanfront property for sale in Arizona.

      LOL

      • stop ur whining part deux

        You mean your mom has some nice oceanfront property to sell. Since you live in her basement i guess you can say it is yours.

        What did mommy make for lunch today? PBJ sandwich with the crust cut off?

  • SniperFire

    Does Issue 2 increase taxes, or not? It is being advertised as ‘NOT A TAX (‘increase’ in little letters on their signs).

    So…. will property taxes go up if this is passed, or not?

    • Sis Delish

      No on all Issues, No on all Renewals, No on all Levy Proposals, No on everything.

      2014: The Year of No!

    • Mark B

      The real question is , will the taxes go DOWN if it fails? If they do then it was a TAX INCREASE !!!!

    • puh_leez

      It’s a renewal. Read the ballot. It won’t increase taxes.

  • GreatRedeemer

    They made a mistake, plain and simple.

    Libraries have helped shape people’s lives and inspired
    young and old. In many years my family has used and participated in the
    library. Things such as stocking a child’s home library with books bought from
    book sales, these books later donated to charities, shelters, schools etc…

    When money was very tight a library provided dreams on books, DVD’s, VHS and today via downloads.
    A library provided education classes, free or almost free,provided a safe haven for children stories, authors to share their personal stories and places to meet. During college years, hundreds of hours were spent in a library.

    Dreams,learning, patience, respect ,all provided by a library.

    if you have not visited a library recently, you should do so today and see for yourself.

    Whether its Elyria or anywhere else that proper stewardship is provided for a library, the answer should be a resounding yes.

    • SniperFire

      ‘They made a mistake, plain and simple.’

      You are willing to take their word for it, because as a Leftist, you think lies are fine as long as it it for the ‘greater good.’

      • GreatRedeemer

        Supporting a library is not being a Leftist, nor am I am willing
        to spar words with a stranger on an internet forum. That being said it’s on the ballot correctly. Perhaps, take another look at the greater good. Peace

        “3 PROPOSED TAX LEVY
        (ADDITIONAL) ELYRIA PUBLIC LIBRARY

        A Majority Affirmative Vote Is Necessary For Passage.

        An additional tax for the benefit of the Elyria Public Library for the purpose of current expenses at a rate not
        exceeding 1.9 mills for each one dollar of valuation, which
        amounts to $0.19 for each one hundred dollars of valuation, for a continuing period of time, commencing in 2014,first due in calendar year 2015”

        • SniperFire

          ‘Supporting a library is not being a Leftist’

          Accepting the lies of Statists to grow government for the greater good is.

    • Sis Delish

      IF you believe this, please explain why this VAST repository of knowledge isn’t the model for School Textbooks, after all, the great volumes on Library Shelves are there for all the reasons you state… and their printed pages haven’t been “revised” to meet current thinking.

      IF, on the other hand, and like our Wasteful Educational System exhorts, Textbooks must be updated annually, then what value does the Library carry any more? What knowledge could possibly be gleaned from such historic and outdated publications?

      • GreatRedeemer

        I apologize, I have no idea what you’re asking. The library
        has works that are old and new. Matter of fact I have a book that was just released in my office now. School material is but a small part of any modern library.

  • SniperFire

    Clearly, the ballot measure should be removed if it now raises taxes twice the amount the Library was seeking. If it cannot be removed, vote it down with great prejudice and have them prove they need a levy at 50% of this level the next time around.

    That is only fair.

    • johns62

      if the legal language is correct, no reason to remove it

      • oldruss

        But it’s okay that the campaign committee, Citizens for Elyria Public Library, “[I]ncorrectly quoted the cost of Issue 3 at less than $3 a month per $100,000 of home value. The accurate number is less than $6 per month for the same amount of home value.”

        And it’s okay that, “The incorrect figures were repeated numerous times, including in news articles and editorials published by the Chronicle-Telegram, based on information provided by the citizens’ group. . . . ”

        Early voting and absentee ballots have already been cast, and all the while the campaign committee’s “misinformation” has been swirling through the community. How do we have a fair election when the major campaign organ supporting the levy has been actively providing false information in effort to pass the levy?

      • SniperFire

        Hey John. The library is coming to the people claiming they need a certain amount of dollars to operate. Now we find out they are trying to grab twice what they claim they needed. Vote No.

        • johns62

          again if the amount is certified ( by the auditor) is correct, how are they trying to ‘grab twice”?. Not saying the library director didn’t totally screw this and shouldn’t have relied on her math skills. all that info comes from the auditors’ office anyway.

          funny how all you eagle eyes out there didn’t hone up your own mad math skills on all levies

          • SniperFire

            I see I need to dumb this down. Wish me luck.

            To begin this process, did the Library calculate how much money they wanted to raise to meet their needs, or not?

  • dt_or

    Sounds like an honest mistake. Millage can be difficult to understand…just look at the ballot language. I’m a smart person and I don’t even know comprehend most of the ballot language I’m reading. Most people don’t.

    The important thing to take away here is that the library acknowledged this error before Election Day. We can all make an informed decision as we walk into the booth. I know I’ll be voting for Issue 3. The library is an invaluable resource for all of us

    • SniperFire

      An institution first decides how much money they need before finding out how much can millage they need to get there. That is how it works. You are welcome.

    • oldruss

      Okay, so millage and mills are hard to understand, and even smart persons don’t even comprehend most of the ballot language. All the more reason that the library director should have just phoned the county auditor and asked how much the millage would translate into based on a property with an appraised value of $100,000. That the library director did not, but instead disseminated false information on what is a key point for many voters when analyzing levies, is the point.

      • Mark B

        Its not right to continue to put the burden on property owners,

        • oldruss

          How did you get the idea that I favored increasing property taxes? My posts are directed at the mendacity of the library director, and the mendacity of the Citizens for Elyria Public Library, and the mendacity of the Chronicle-Telegram, which repeated the library director’s “misinformation” and then repeated the same “misinformation” in its editorials.

  • doug zen

    hey sis delish, do you ever look in the mirror and question “am i really this mentally challenged”.

    • Sis Delish

      The answer is probably at your local library… check it out.

  • TheRustyScupper

    If you like your doctor – I lied, but it is OK, because the public believes everything I say
    If you like your library it is ONLY double what I said it would cost – I lied, but it is OK.
    VOTE IT DOWN!

  • SniperFire

    Has the Library director been fired yet?

  • stop ur whining part deux

    I typically vote against the library levies. They put a sour tase in my mouth when they built the West River Branch. Originally it was supposed to replace the Washington Ave Branch. However they were stupid when the built it and it has no basement for storage space and makes keeping the Washington Ave Branch open for just that reason. Shut down Washington Ave if you want more of my money.

    • William

      That is 100 percent false, when that library was built there was never a plan to close the Washington Ave one. The Washington Ave Branch is the main branch of the library. Both branches are very busy and well used. I urge you to go to either of the libraries or both and see for yourself. Half the time when I am there, there is a line a people waiting to be checked out and a waiting list for the computers.

      • stop ur whining part deux

        Sorry, but you are incorrect. The plans were changed mid way thru the process do to the backlash of the petty fools that live on Washington Ave. They all wanted to keep their quaint library.

        At the time it took place I had family members that worked for the city. I remember it as if it happened yesterday.

        There is NO need to have two library’s in Elyria.

        • Taxpayer423

          Oops, update your information. There are 5 branches of the EPLS, including 1 in LaGrange and 1 at LCCC.

          • stop ur whining part deux

            yes, since west river has been built they have added. But at the time west river was built the plan was to have one.

  • DCAinSLC

    These matters are not easy or simple, particularly given Ohio’s complicated property tax system and its multiple levels of overlapping local governments. Like New Jersey, Ohio has a staggering number of villages, towns, cities, counties, districts, and authorities. Perhaps the Ohio Legislature should require county auditors to officially certify cost estimates when the local Board of Elections certifies the ballot question. That would eliminate ambiguity and the chance of error. The Auditor’s statement would be the official number used for the larger policy discussion.

  • William

    It is very unfortunate that Ms Crouse distributed false information. I hope it does not negatively impact the library

    • SniperFire

      If that is the library director, and she has not been fired, then the best reason to not pass the library levy is the complete lack of accountability to the taxpayer.

  • golfingirl

    Headline:

    “Library levy would cost a little more”

    It cost twice as much!

    In government spending terms, I suppose double the cost in only a “little more.”

  • DCAinSLC

    According to an earlier news story the situation is more complicated.

    “Thanks to a new state law, the levy must be presented as a new levy although most of the service district pays a library levy ranging from 1.9 mills in Elyria and 0.8 of a mill in Keystone. Elyria would not see a tax increase with the levy’s passage because Elyria already pays 1.9 mills. LaGrange and LaGrange Township voters would have to OK an increase from 0.8 mills to 1.9 mills, and voters in Elyria, Penfield and parts of Carlisle Township would have to agree to a brand new tax.”

    I was involved in a tax levy for a school district many years ago. These are incredibly complicated because of the nature of the property tax system in Ohio. The lack of a county-wide library system makes this a particular challenge for Elyria and environs. Ohio’s 19th century era villages, cities and towns are quaint, but with most of Lorain County now one large urban mass, it would make sense to consolidate far more of its government services.

    I do hope the levy is approved. The community college, the JVS and the library system are essential pillars for a sustainable economy. Employers will not site in communities where the schools are underfunded and the workforce lacks access to basic educational resources.

    • golfingirl

      I see the value in a library, at a reasonable cost to the taxpayers.

      One question I have is, why are they expanding when most people get their information from the internet today?

      No more searching through the Dewey Decimal System, ( I know that has been gone for awhile), looking for outdated reference sources on a shelf.

      Want to read a book, go to an online library. Can probably rent it for less that the gas it cost to get to a library.

      Just wondering, not criticizing.

      • VeenaWeena

        First off, the Dewey Decimal system is still used in libraries today. So, really, Dewey is not dead. It’s necessary for a library’s non-fiction shelving system. My guess is you haven’t been in a library lately. Second, if you had a library card you would know that you can download movies, books, music and more from most library’s websites, so traveling to a library isn’t exactly necessary. Most libraries are very adept at keeping both brand new and older information on shelves for your recreational and educational needs.

        I don’t know if what Elyria Public Library did was an accident or if it was intentional. What I do know is that most libraries are honorable, thrifty institutions and try hard to get the most bang for your buck. If you have questions on how they run their finances and spend your money, stop by and take a look at their records. It is considered public information. Have a librarian help you. That’s what they’re there for.

        • golfingirl

          I do support the library system, am a card carrying member, however really do not use the services much.

          I have voted for all library levies in the past, just expect to have accurate information, which was not the case here.

          Again, if the math is too “complicated,” it should be done by a county department who possesses the expertise required to do so.

          Lesson learned, I hope.

      • DCAinSLC

        It appears that state law requires equalization of rates within the jurisdictions under the umbrella of the sponsoring levy entity. The levy is to meet current operating expenses. The library is 50% dependent on local funds. Google research is a since start, but not a substitute for sold academic work. As evidenced by some of the commentary on this website, many don’t even bother to use the internet to do their research. Library use is actually up 10% – probably due to job searches and an increased population of retirees. Ohio is a very unique in that tax levies are not adjusted for inflation. This came about in the late 1970s when the legislature overreacted to a spike in property values and enacted HB 920. It is why Ohio schools have been starved for funds for nearly a generation. Now residing outside of Ohio, the structural flaws of the Ohio Property Tax system are readily apparent. In northern VA we only vote on capital expenditures. We have county-wide or independent cities with property tax rates set by our governing boards. It is all consolidated and readily transparent.

  • Taxpayer423

    Wow, they “lied”? I guess none of you has ever made a mistake, not even about a complicated math calculation. And as to doubling the amount paid, according to the article the yearly tax for the average Elyria homeowner is about $72 total, or $36 more than originally quoted. Small price to pay for a library that loans books, DVDs, ebooks, CDs for free to anyone in Elyria, has educational classes, and provides computers and internet services. If you are a renter, you don’t even pay property taxes. And if you are a homeowner, then think about this: when the voters won’t support a library, schools, community college, etc., then no one wants to live here. And if no one wants to live here, people move out, home values go down, the local businesses close for lack of customers, and Elyria becomes a ghost town. I’d like to see Elyria get better instead of worse, and the only way we can do it is by all sticking together to share the costs of making Elyria a better place to live.

    By the way, I don’t have kids or grandkids, but I’m still voting yes for the school levy, because I don’t want to live among a bunch of poorly educated people. If kids are uneducated, they will not be able to get jobs, and the crime rate will go up. Is that what you want?

    • VeenaWeena

      I’m with you taxpayer423. I live in the levy area, and although I use another library system, I will vote for the levy. Just think of it this way. I’m all charged up about it. If it does get voted down, we’ll all be at least $72 richer. In this economy, that will get you about three ripped bags of crap from Wal-Mart.

  • golfingirl

    Maybe they should leave the math to a mathematician, or auditor, and not a librarian.

    With all those resources at the library, I am sure the proper method to calculate the amount owed by a property owner could have been easily looked up.

    I do not believe it was intentional, but still does not excuse not going through the proper departments to verify the numbers.

    Fortunately, it was “caught” prior to any vote by the residents and can now be judged based upon the actual dollar amount.

    In the future, let those who can calculate the “complicated” math do so. A librarian is not a mathematician.

  • golfingirl

    Bottom line is this….We are taxed out!

    Every levy is for a “good” cause.

    Libraries, Schools, Police and Fire, Mental Health, LCCC, JVS, on and on.

    At some point people can no longer afford all these “good” causes and simply have to say no more!

    Every Levy has its advocates, but criticize one and you are “anti-this or that.” You are accused of having no compassion, no concern for your property values, don’t care about the children etc.

    The country is broke, $17.5 T in debt. Half the people pay no Federal income taxes, cost of entitlement programs have gone through the roof and the economy is stagnant.

    So where are all these people supposed to come up with all this money for all these “good” causes?

    We are tapped out, and if your beloved program, no matter which one it is, has to take a hit, so be it.