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MailTribune.com
  • Ashland voters might decide fate of shuttered library

  • Ashland is considering asking voters in September to approve an annual levy of just over $1 million to run the town's library.
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  • Ashland is considering asking voters in September to approve an annual levy of just over $1 million to run the town's library.
    Members of the city's Citizens Budget Committee discussed the plan Thursday night but did not approve it.
    The committee will meet again at 6 p.m. on Monday in the Ashland Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main St., to continue discussing the issue.
    The levy would cost 58 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, or $145 per year for the owner of a home assessed at $250,000.
    City officials are researching options for the library here after Jackson County voters rejected a levy to fund all 15 libraries in the county system for three years. That levy, which would have provided funding to replace a federal timber tax subsidy, would have cost 66 cents per $1,000 in assessed value. More than 70 percent of Ashland voters voted for the levy.
    The earliest the library could reopen under the plan would be October.
    The committee also discussed raising property taxes without voters' express approval as a route to opening the library earlier. The committee could authorize raising property taxes by 32 cents per $1,000 in assessed value without voters' approval. But that would nearly max out the city's ongoing ability to raise property taxes without a vote, and would eliminate a financial safety net.
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