Three Dollars a Month Is...Too Much

It's the classic story...the community wants the library and all it has to offer, but it doesn't want to pay .

When a technology lab bus from the OH state library system parked itself at the Amherst Public Library for a week to offer a variety of computer classes, library officials knew they had struck the right nerve.

“We had over 20 classes and they all had waiting lists,” library director Robin Woods said. “We had over 250 people taking classes in Excel, Facebook for adults, genealogy and resume-writing.”

Since the bus visit was a response to community surveys and feedback that told library officials that residents wanted this kind of service and others, Tuesday’s rejection of an $11 million bond issue to finance a 24,000-square-foot addition to the library is more than a bit puzzling.

The 1.17-mill, 28-year issue, which would have cost $3 a month for owners of homes valued at $100,000, was defeated by 933 to 809, according to unofficial election results. Chronicle Telegram.


A person with a $100,000 house in Amherst is paying $140 a month in taxes. The town of Amherst also has a 1% income tax. That "only" $3 a month is going on top of the "only" $140 a month. The median house price in that town looks to be between $120k and $150k so people are already paying more than the $140 month.

For those that like the class envy angle it is good to know that someone in Amherst with a $500,000 house is paying $700 a month in taxes.

Wow, I wish my property taxes were that low, Anonymous.

So we can compare how much do you pay per $100,000 of house value.

For $100,000 of home value my property taxes would amount to $231 per month....if my math is right, lol.

In all fairness, I don't pay income tax to the town I live in. All their revenue comes from property tax and sales tax (which is 8.75% on non-food items).

If I had to pay 1% of my income to my town, I'd be contributing an extra $33 per month.

the error is assuming that the support you see from the people in your building using your services is reflective of your entire constituency base. It is not.

In the story, they say they had 250 people taking computer courses. This sounds like a great number, until you look at how large Amherst, OH actually is. The population in 2000 was 11,800. Who knows if it got larger or smaller since then. Assuming it stayed the same, you're looking at about 2% of your town's population, seeing that they really really love what you are doing, and thinking that the other 98% will just go along with it.

Referendums are tough, people. Especially in these economic times.

The $3 a month was for the next 28 years. There are going to be other tax increases and more bonds. It just adds up and adds up. I know that whenever I have any doubts about a bond issue (aka tax increase) I vote no.

As the anonymous commenters demonstrate through their lack of expressed comprehension, taxation in Ohio is fairly complicated.

Amherst is primarily roughly a suburban bedroom/commuting community outside the Cleveland metro area. Public libraries in the state of Ohio can only ask for ad valorem property taxes for operating expenses. What happened in this case is that the library wanted to undertake capital improvements. A bond issue is for a public agency akin to what happens when a single human being takes out a loan to buy a house. Paying off the bond issue over 28 years is akin to somebody paying off their mortgage.

Nothing in this would have been used for operating expenses. Bond issues are not for that, operating levies are. This was to fund construction pure and simple. All this results in is that the folks in Amherst can either make do with the facilities they have or they can just drive a little over 20 miles east to use the facilities of the Cuyahoga County Public Library. One of the benefits of the Ohio funding model for libraries is that if you are a resident of the state and can cross the transom at a library you can get a card.
Stephen Michael Kellat, MSLS


I am always waiting to read the words "flux capacitor" in your posts.

From what you have written you seem to be a cross between Doc Brown in Back to the Future and Temple Grandin.

I'm just somebody who has followed tax levies and bond issues from start to finish for a few election cycles right here in Ohio. The articles I always hated writing were the ones on election night when a school district levy got voted down. I have too many column inches in print that I wrote in those situations. I was the guy who put together the features in the run-up to election day explaining how all these different types of taxes worked, too...

Back when I was a local reporter for one of my area's newspapers, one of the school board treasurers showed me their cheat sheet manual to operating levies and bond issues. The thing was thick enough to be as long of a read as your average Tom Clancy novel. I lost my copy of that book during all the various moves but am still disturbed by how much of a bureaucratic nightmare taxes are in Ohio.

When it comes to how property taxes are assessed and all, every state is different. I don't blame the various anonymous patrons for not having the first clue as to how taxes like such are handled here in Ohio. When even public officials here conflate bond issues and operating levies as the original story showed, even being here does not help you understand the mess Ohio needs to restructure its way out of.
Stephen Michael Kellat, MSLS

The people that voted might have thought that they didn't need an extension to the library. After all they have the technology lab bus that they wanted.

But the bus goes all over Ohio, if it's the one I'm thinking of. Libraries can use it for a week and you really have to book the thing in advance.

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