Tax pays: Library budget has tripled since 1996
GRASS VALLEY – Nicholas Kerler doesn’t understand much about money and taxes.
After all, he was only 5 months old when Nevada County voters approved Measure B to increase the local sales tax for libraries.
Although he doesn’t understand what the county library tax was about, he enjoys the added programs the revenue has provided.
The tax, passed by voters in June 1998, increased county sales tax by one-eighth of a cent.
Although that doesn’t sound like much, it translates into about $800,000 a year extra for libraries, said County Librarian Francisco Pinneli.
That money was used to hire three children’s librarians – one at the Helling Library, one in Grass Valley and one in Truckee – and expand children’s programs, Pinneli said.
Nicholas, and his mom, Nancy Kerler, attend the Thursday children’s reading program at the Grass Valley branch’s recently updated children’s area.
“It’s given us a chance to get to know other kids in the area and other moms,” Nancy Kerler said.
The Kerlers, who recently moved from the Bay Area, didn’t expect the same level of programing in Grass Valley as was provided in the more metropolitan area.
However, Kerler said she was surprised and delighted by the children’s programs at the county library, adding that it’s really grown in size.
Last September, there was a day when Nicholas was the only child in attendance, Nancy Kerler said.
But now, the weekly children’s reading program is standing-room-only, she pointed out.
The tax hike nearly tripled the library’s budget – from about $500,000 in 1996-97 to $1.6 million this year, Pinneli said.
Although the tax was approved in June 1998 and collection began that October, the additional tax revenue didn’t make a big impact until January 1999, Pinneli said.
The money also helped to:
– double library staff, from about 13 to 28 full time workers
– purchase new books and updated materials
– increase library hours to 52 a week at Helling, Grass Valley and Truckee libraries, six days a week
– add better computers and Internet access for library users
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