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Library district may rethink maximum tax

The newly formed Jackson County Library District may repeal an earlier decision to tap property owners for the maximum possible tax rate based on new information.

The district board will consider a proposed resolution at 9 a.m., Thursday, in the Medford library that would assess property owners less than the 60 cents per $1,000 rate it had previously established.

“I think it will be considerably less,” said Carol Doty, a library district board member. 

However, Doty said she’s not sure whether there are sufficient votes among the five board members for the reconsideration.

Doty said she couldn’t reveal how much less might be proposed, because that’s something for the board to discuss at the Thursday meeting.

“I think it’s a very good proposal,” she said. "We’re in a lot better position today for reconsideration.”

Doty said she’s been pushing for a reduced rate for some time, but she said it’s not primarily because of negative public reaction to setting the maximum tax rate.

Instead, she said the district board has been getting better numbers that give it a clearer idea of how much money will be needed to operate the library system.

The library district is in the position of having to pay for 17 months of library operations rather than 12 months because it can't start collecting revenues from property taxes until November

(corrected from previous version).

Doty said the county was fronting the district $2.2 million for the five months remaining this year, plus another $6.5 million for library operations for next year. The county will receive the money because it already had developed the contract for library operations and pays for maintenance and other costs.

Doty said many people don’t realize that most of the dollars collected by the district will be forwarded to the county to keep the libraries open.

Eventually, the district may assume responsibility for the operation of the libraries.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com. Follow on Twitter at @reporterdm.