Butler County library levies pass easily

Library levies in Butler County cruised to easy wins in Tuesday’s special election.

Voters who reside in the Fairfield, Hamilton, New Miami, Ross, Talawanda, and portions of Edgewood school districts continued their support for the Lane Libraries, which had a 0.75-mill renewal levy on the ballot.

Acccording to final, unofficial vote totals from the Butler County Board of Elections, the levy renewal passed with 78 percent for the levy and 22 against.

The levy will generate $2.5 million annually for the library, which is the same amount of money the existing levy, which expires this year, generates. The Lane library system operates three branches in Hamilton, Fairfield and Oxford. Passage of the levy means the owner of a $100,000 home will continue to pay $22.97 a year for five years. There will be no tax increase from the renewal.

“We’re very grateful for the support of the community,” said Joseph Greenward, the director of the Lane Library. “I’m glad they value what we provide for them.

In 2009, the state cut library funding by 25 percent, and at that time, 95 percent of the library’s funds came from the state, Greenward said. The following year, Lane placed a levy on the ballot, which passed with 65 percent approval.

Lane is opening a new Oxford building by this fall, Greenward said, but the levy does not support that project. The levy only covers operating expenses.

Voters in the Midpointe Library district overwhelmingly approved renewing the five-year, 0.75-mill levy that will help cover operating expenses for the system with libraries in Middletown, West Chester Twp. and Trenton by an unofficial vote of nearly 80 percent for to 20 percent against, according to final, unofficial results from the Butler County Board of Elections. Passage of the levy means its will continue to cost the owner of a $100,000 home $21.44 every year for five years. There will be no tax increase from the renewal.

Levy monies make up 40 percent of MidPointe’s funding and are essential to maintaining the level of service, quality of materials, and depth of programming, according to library officials.

When the levy was passed in 2010, the library system was able to return to full service hours, reinstate programs and develop new programming, and maintain reasonable staffing levels.

Officials said without a levy renewal in 2015, library hours and staffing would be reduced, new material and technology budgets would be cut, programming would be eliminated, and facility growth would be halted.

MidPointe Library is in the process of building a fourth branch in Monroe and opening a larger Trenton branch.