Library levy will be asking voter permission to approve exceeding five mill maximum

Literary Junction
Ray Dale / Public Services Librarian
Ray Dale
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Photo by David Larsen

A young child participates in the Big Horn County Library’s miniature golf event, which turned out to be fun for adults as well as kids.

Last week saw a number of different faces come through the Big Horn County Library in order to participate in the miniature golf event put on by the Friends of the Library. Oddly enough, what we thought would be a fun activity for the kids ended up being mostly fun for the adults. While some parents and grandparents brought their kids in to play a round, it was mostly adults that participated, which was a nice surprise from what we expected to see. At any rate, miniature golf seemed to be a success.

In addition to golf, the Friends of the Library took the opportunity to encourage voter support for the library levy vote that is coming up on June 5.

For those who do not know, Big Horn County has a five-mill library levy. This library levy provides one half of the operating budget for the Big Horn County Library. In the election of 2000, the Library Trustees – as required by state law – asked voter permission to exceed the five-mill maximum for two years. Voters approved exceeding the maximum levy by an overwhelming margin in that year. In the elections of 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016, the process has been repeated with the same results.

On the ballot for June 5, the Library Trustees again will be asking voter permission to exceed the maximum levy to fund the Big Horn County Library’s operating budget. This year, however, there will be a couple of differences from the past.

Due to lowered coal production, the value of a mill is down. For that reason, the Library Trustees will be asking voter permission to exceed the fivemill maximum by six mills instead of the traditional five. At first glance, this looks like a tax increase – in reality, it is not. It is a request to continue with the same funding arrangement that began in the year 2000 and the amount paid by the taxpayers will change very little, if at all.

In addition, the Library Trustees will be asking to make this arrangement a permanent one instead of requiring a vote every two years. Once again, this will not be a tax increase, simply a permanent continuance of what’s been happening since 2000.

In a democracy, voting is the most effective way we as citizens have of participating in our government and making our wishes known. I encourage all registered voters to vote this June 5 for the candidates and issues they believe will be best for the county, state and country.