The defeat of several tax increases at the California ballot has to cause people to stop and think. Could the same thing happen here in Idaho – a state that had a really strong turnout from tea partiers and where Gov. Otter couldn't get a tax increase through the House of Representatives?
Enter an election in Canyon County to create a taxing district. The election is Tuesday. Supporters of the property tax increase want to create a library district that would serve Notus, Greenleaf and Farmway Village. District backers decided to create a district after Notus city officials indicated that the city library will no longer receive funding in the next budget cycle. So the supporters gathered up enough petition signatures (they only needed 50) to put the issue to a vote.
The decision to make such a large taxing district is predicated on the erroneous notion that Idaho law mandates a minimum of 1,500 people for each library district. The law does call for 1,500 people, but the state Commission for Libraries can grant an exception to that requirement. No one has applied for such an exemption, and that's a position the state Commission for Libraries supports.
Creating a smaller district "limits them from providing excellent library service,” said Erin McCusker, the state library consultant working with district’s supporters. “They could open a library with the smaller area and with the smaller potentially smaller budget, but I don’t know what kind of service they’re going to be able to offer. We have libraries that are suffering now because of low budgets.”
I don’t know whether these communities need or want a library, and I’m not going to try to make that judgment call. It is a tough time to try and raise taxes. McCusker makes her case for the proposal: "People need computers for resumes. They’re not keeping their Internet service.” Residents will also benefit from new services like Interlibrary loan, she said.
“Does Greenleaf need a library?" I ask.
“That will be determined in the vote,” McCusker said.
Will Canyon County residents go for it? Stay tuned.
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