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Worthington library director says vote doesn't mean lack of support

| Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014, 12:41 a.m.
Worthington-West Franklin Community Library is in need of funds or it might be forced to cut hours of operation. LEADER TIMES FILE PHOTO

The defeat of a millage increase to support the Worthington-West Franklin Community Library in May has led the Worthington Borough Council to cut its funding to the library by $3,000 this year.

“We were not expecting it,” said library Director Timi Kost.

The cut was decided by the council at budget hearings last month and approved by a 6-0 vote at a Jan. 6 meeting.

The defeat of the 1-mill tax increase was viewed by the council as a clear message that the public did not support the library, Vice President George Kerr said Wednesday. The proposal lost by 50 votes in Worthington and 103 votes in West Franklin.

“Or residents did not want tax money going to the library,” Kerr said.

Kost said voters were not showing a lack of support for the library with the vote, but that it was more about whether they could afford it with upcoming higher school taxes because of the Armstrong Junior-High School being built in Manor. She said that it was a misguided interpretation of the referendum result for the council to say the library lacked support in the community.

She is hoping the community will protest the cut in funding and that the council will reinstate it.

“Otherwise, we'll be cutting hours within weeks,” she said.

The library, which is facing a $100 increase — to $900 a month — in rent imposed by its landlord, the Joint Parks and Recreation Authority, will likely have to cut hours and services just to fund that additional cost, Kost said.

She noted that the library board and staff host fundraising and donation campaigns throughout the year, but that dependable funding is crucial when making a budget.

The public has been very generous with donations, Kost said, but that money should go toward upgrading library equipment, not for the day-to-day operating funds.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

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