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North Apollo won't vote on library tax this fall

| Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013, 1:11 a.m.

A referendum to end North Apollo's library tax will not be on the ballot for voters in November.

The reasons include a shortage of required petition signatures and Labor Day.

Borough Council voted in June to have petitions prepared for a possible referendum asking voters to end the 0.75 mill property tax that supports the Apollo Memorial Library. The tax is also collected in Apollo, where the library is located.

Only 16 signatures are needed to get the question put on the Nov. 5 ballot. They are due to the county by Sept. 5.

Council anticipated a vote Monday on submitting the petitions, but Councilman Bill Campbell, who had been collecting them, told council he needed 10 more signatures.

Campbell later said he had more than 20 signatures, but was aiming for 30 to 32, in case any were found to be invalid.

Normally, council could have waited until its next meeting — held on the first Monday of each month — to vote on submitting the petitions. But that next date is Sept. 2, which is Labor Day. Because of the holiday, council's next regular meeting is Sept. 9, after the deadline to submit petitions.

A motion by Councilman Ed Barclay to schedule a special meeting before the deadline failed for lack of a second among the five-member council. Councilman Tom Newton said he didn't want to spend the money on required legal advertising to hold the meeting.

Barclay, a proponent of eliminating the tax, said he was “extremely disappointed” that council was not able to save taxpayers' money.

The arguments of library supporters and a visit to the library did not change his mind, Barclay said.

“I will definitely bring it up again because I believe in it,” he said. “As far as I'm concerned, it's a long-term issue.”

Campbell said he wasn't having trouble collecting signatures but thought he had more time.

“I wasn't pushing because I figured I had till next month,” he said. “I think it will come up on the ballot again.”

Reached after the meeting, library Treasurer Judy Turner said she was surprised the question will not be on the ballot because not many signatures were needed.

“That's very good news it won't be coming around this year,” she said.

But Turner said she expects a referendum to come some day and that the library will have to remain prepared.

“We have a little more time to figure out where we're going,” she said. “Libraries are under siege. I don't know what the future of small libraries is going to be. We'll hope for the best.”

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or brittmeyer@tribweb.com.

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