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Library Levy Election Date: Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Rolling Hills Library -- Where CONNECTIONS are Made!

The Issue

In 1999, the residents of the Rolling Hills Consolidated Library district approved a $0.15 increase to the existing operating levy with a 20-year sunset.  We are not asking for another increase, only to continue the current level of funding for another 20 years.

The Need

The sunset portion of our levy is just about half of our operating budget.  With these funds, we operate two locations and provide bookmobile service to all areas of Andrew and Buchanan counties.  As with many other public service agencies, costs continue to rise and we need funding in order to pay for the excellent library service that our communities need and deserve.  Libraries are not a luxury.  We are here to help everyone of all ages improve their lives through literacy and learning.

Libraries are about PEOPLE, PLACES, and PROSPERITY.  Every community with a high quality of life has a well-funded and active public library.

In 2018, the Rolling Hills Library had:

  • 179,005 visits to our libraries and the bookmobile.
  • 365,788 checkouts of materials, both physical and digital.
  • 29,171 uses of our public access computers.
  • 21,771 attendees at our library programs.

Important library programs and services include:

  • 1000 Books Before Kindergarten, an early literacy challenge for ages 0-5 and their caregivers.

  • High School Completion Kits, with a laptop and wi-fi hotspot for extended checkout by adults wanting their high school equivalency.

  • Free public meeting rooms for community groups and study rooms for individuals.

  • Passport acceptance services, one-stop-shopping for photos and  passport applications.

  • Summer Reading Program, our annual reading incentive event for all ages with prizes and performances held every June and July.

  • Early Learning Exhibits for youth and families, including Amazing Castle, Curious George, and Once Upon a Time (coming Fall 2019).

  • Fun and unique items for checkout, including fishing poles, folding tables, wi-fi hotspots, cake pans (coming soon), and early learning tablets.

The Impact

What does a Yes or No vote mean for the library?

 means we can continue to:

  • Operate and maintain welcoming library facilities.
  • Offer enhanced, high-quality programming.
  • Engage in productive community partnerships.
  • Expand access to collections and resources.
  • Provide more opportunities for life-long learning.

 means we would have to:

  • Cut operating hours and staff.
  • Defer all facility spending to emergencies only.
  • Reduce or eliminate library programs and exhibits.
  • Restrict bookmobile stops and visits.
  • Buy significantly fewer books and videos.

The Ballot

Shall Rolling Hills Consolidated Library be authorized to continue its levy of $0.15 per $100 assessed valuation, which sunsets in 2019, for an additional 20 years to sunset in 2039, for a total of all authorized levies of $0.31 per $100 assessed valuation, to be used to operate, maintain, and improve library services?

Questions and Answers

Q. Is this a tax increase?

A. No, this is just a continuation of a portion of our levy that passed with a sunset 20 years ago.  Your tax rate will not go up from the current level set for library funding.

Q. What does the library levy pay for?

A. Public property taxes account for 91% of the library’s total operating revenue.  This provides funds for our operating budget that pays for staff, facilities, services, and collections.

Q. Are there any other alternative sources of funding?

A. The State of Missouri provided only 1.1% of our income in FY2018, and this allocation has been slowly decreasing over the past five years due to state cutbacks.  We receive a small amount from tenant income and we also have income from passport processing, but it does not add up to what this expiring levy amount brings in.

Q. Can't you just make budget cuts?

A. We cannot lose half of our operating funds and still be the same library.  Since 2000, we doubled the size of both branches and have purchased a new bookmobile as well as adding to the collection and are able to fully staff all locations 7 days a week.  Cutting our budget by this amount would be devastating.  From 2018 usage figures, the library provided $3.02 in value for every $1.00 in tax funds collected, quite a return on investment.

Q. Why does Buchanan County have two library districts?

A. St. Joseph Public Library and Rolling Hills Consolidated Library are two separate library districts, one is primarily the city and the other is mainly for the county.  Each has its own levy and each operates separately from the other.  The two districts do not charge each others' residents any out-of-district fees for services.  We also collaborate and cooperate often to bring the best possible library service to our area.

Q. Why do we need libraries anymore with the internet?

A. Not everything on the internet is free or true.  Library staff can help you navigate the internet and be more confident in the answers you find.  We now know that foreign influences and other bad actors are constantly trying to manipulate us over the internet and social media.  Our library teaches classes on how to protect yourself and how to tell fact from fiction online.  Modern full text books and complete feature films are not available on the open internet and will likely always be behind a paywall of some kind.  Libraries provide internet access for those in the community who cannot afford their own connection at home.  Without us, many people could never write and print a resume, apply for a job, or see pictures of their grandchildren hundreds of miles away.  

Q. How do I know if I live in the Rolling Hills Library district?

A. The library district you live in is listed on your voter registration card and and on your property tax statement.  All of Andrew County is in the RHCL district.  All of Buchanan County is as well, except for the area within the 1965 city limits of St. Joseph.  In general, if you live east of Leonard Road, south of Parker Road, or south of Menard's, you live in our district and can vote in this election.  If you live on the outskirts of St. Joseph, check out this map for the boundaries.  Everyone lives in just one library district and only pays taxes to one library.  

Q. How does this affect me as a taxpayer?

A. Property tax is assessed on both homes and on personal property like cars, trucks, and boats.  Any property tax levy, including this library levy, is assessed on all of your property.  All property is taxed at the assessed value, not the market value.  Different types of property are assessed at different percentages of the assessed value.  More information can be found at:  https://stc.mo.gov.

For a home with a market value of $100,000 in our library district, you are currently paying approximately $28.50 per year for the $.15 cent levy we are asking to continue, which is the retail cost of one hardcover book.

REGISTER to vote in Missouri
Buchanan County Clerk's Office for Voting Information
Andrew Couty Clerk's Office for Voting Information
Missouri State Tax Commission