Nevada County library system examines renewal of eighth-cent sales tax, possible vote in November 2016
Supporters of a library sales tax of an eighth of a cent, due to expire in three years, see November 2016 as the likely point to ask Nevada County residents to re-approve the measure.
The sales tax, in effect since 1998, will roll off the books Sept. 30, 2018. Library officials already have broached the subject of getting it on the 2016 general election ballot, though they’ve taken no formal action.
“It’s extremely important,” said Laura Pappani, the county’s librarian. “Sales tax is about 65 percent of our annual budget.”
The library receives the rest of its funding from the county’s general fund, state grants and donations, she added.
The tax provided $1.5 million to the library two fiscal years ago and $1.65 million last fiscal year, said Martin Polt, the county’s CFO.
In 1997, the year before the tax’s implementation, the library had a budget of just under $500,000.
The library’s budget is about $2.78 million this year, Pappani said.
Voters approved the eighth-cent tax in 1998 for five years. In 2003 they re-approved the tax for another 15 years.
The vote also created a citizens oversight committee, which inspects tax receipts and ensures the money is spent properly, Pappani said.
“It’s worked really well,” she added. “I think it’s a good idea.”
The tax money is restricted to library operations, and cannot be spent on capital purchases.
The Board of Supervisors has the power to place the measure on the November 2016 ballot. Elections officials would need almost three months’ notice to get it on the ballot, said Sandra Sjoberg, assistant county clerk-recorder/registrar of voters with the Nevada County Elections Office.
A two-thirds vote of county residents is required to levy the tax.
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4239.
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