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Greensburg Hempfield library tax fails in 4 of 6 municipalities

Jacob Tierney
| Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, 10:45 p.m.
From left, Lori Sabo, Kyli Stoner and Dylan Stoner check and react to incoming election results for the 1-mill real estate tax  to support the Greensburg Hempfield Area Library at a Westmoreland County Democrats election night watch party at The Headkeeper in Greensburg. (Trib photo)
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
From left, Lori Sabo, Kyli Stoner and Dylan Stoner check and react to incoming election results for the 1-mill real estate tax to support the Greensburg Hempfield Area Library at a Westmoreland County Democrats election night watch party at The Headkeeper in Greensburg. (Trib photo)

Four out of six communities rejected the Greensburg Hempfield Area Library's appeal for a 1-mill property tax, including Hempfield Township, which would have provided most of the money the library was hoping for.

The tax will take effect in Greensburg and Southwest Greensburg, which approved it.

“The guaranteed funding from Greensburg and Southwest Greensburg will help the library's finances in the short term, and will mean it has to dip a little bit less into the reserves. Unfortunately, in about six ... or seven years, the money will run out,” said Paul Adams, who chaired the library's “Vote Yes” campaign.

The referendum was proposed as a way for the financially struggling library to survive. The library, which has branches in Greensburg and Youngwood, runs a deficit most years, and without the tax, library officials expect their reserves to be drained by 2023.

The results were as follows:

• Hempfield Township denied the referendum with 52.88 percent of votes against it. The tax on Hempfield residents would have contributed about $500,000 a year.

• Greensburg approved the referendum with 62 percent of the vote. The tax will contribute about $120,000 a year.

• New Stanton denied it with 64.7 percent of votes against it. The tax would have contributed about $32,000 a year.

• Youngwood denied the referendum with 53.1 percent of votes against it. The tax would have contributed about $26,500 a year.

• South Greensburg opposed the referendum with 61.8 percent of votes against it. The tax would have contributed about $22,000 a year.

• Southwest Greensburg approved the referendum with 62 percent of votes for it. The tax will contribute about $15,600 a year.

The library may try another referendum in five years or so, depending on how its finances look at the time, Adams said. It will also ask municipal leaders in the communities that rejected the tax to increase the contributions to the library from their budgets.

Greensburg Hempfield Area Library's tax referendum was the county's second in two years.

Jeannette voters approved a 1-mill property tax increase in 2016 to raise about $65,000 for the city library.

Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6646, jtierney@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Soolseem.

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