November 7 - The results are in - we won in two municipalities - The City of Greensburg and Southwest Greensburg! This will help sustain the library but does not create a permanent solution to the funding situation. We came very close in Hempfield and Youngwood!
Updates for the week of November 6:
ELECTION DAY - NOVEMBER 7
We won decisively in the City of Greensburg and Borough of Southwest Greensburg. Those two municipalities will support the library through a dedicated one mill levy to be collected next tax year. In the other municipalities, the library will continue to seek and expect municipal support from the local governments as in the past. Local communities are still expected to provide support to their public libraries - this vote does not change this state guideline!
Our committee is dedicated to the approval of referendum in several municipalities so as to ensure dedicated and sufficient funding for the Greensburg-Hempfield Area Library and the Youngwood Community Library for the future.
Successful referenda were held in two municipalities - City of Greensburg and the Borough of Southwest Greensburg on November 7, 2017. The vote asked for a 1 mill levy on the assessed value of taxable real estate in six municipalities. The four municipalities in which the vote failed will be asked, as in the past, to fund the library directly through their budgets. In addition, in five years, it is likely the referenda will be again placed on the ballot in these areas.
The library will use the funds to restore, maintain and extend needed programs across our service area. All funds will be used for the Greensburg-Hempfield Area Library and the Youngwood Community Library. More information is provided below.
Without the referenda or significantly increased support from the state and local municipal governments, the library will be forced to further reduce staffing, reduce hours, and reduce purchases of new materials and technology. However since the library is already operating at the minimum levels permitted by state law, if the library falls below those levels, state funding will be cut off, which could result in permanently closing the library.
As the vote passed in Greensburg and Southwest Greensburg, this certainly helps the library and perhaps delays possible closure for a year or two. But it does not create a permanent and sustainable funding solution.
For more information on the current library financial conditions and impact of the referenda please see below.
The library does not receive enough money from the state, county, municipalities, and boroughs to meet its yearly budget. The Greensburg Hempfield Area Library board has asked for a referendum on the November 7, 2017 local election ballot to fund library programs, services, staffing, and facilities upkeep. The GHAL has provided the data herein. All funding from this referendum will be used locally. If the referendum passes, the library will use the funds to restore, maintain and extend needed programs across our service area. If the referendum fails, certain key programs will continue to face shortfalls.
What is the status of the Youngwood Branch of the Library?
Youngwood Library is a branch of the Greensburg Hempfield Area Library. If the referendum passes, Youngwood Library will continue to thrive. If the referendum fails, the branch will close along with the main library.
If the referenda are successful:
If the referenda are unsuccessful:
In 2016 there were 18,484 registered users, 144,769 library visits during 2,350 open hours. The average weekly open hours were 47. Computer access in the library accounted for 14,351 computer use sessions. The library’s wireless network was accessed 4,379 times. There were 48,797 logins to the online catalog. The number of visits without logins cannot be ascertained.
Why doesn’t the library charge for services? The Pennsylvania statute that authorizes using Pennsylvania tax dollars for public libraries contains a specific prohibition against charging for “routine” library services.
What is the yearly operating budget of the library?
The operating cost for 2016 was $751,111 and the budget for 2017 is $740,000.
What is the income from state, county and local sources?
The following is a list of income sources and amounts received in 2016:
Do other libraries have dedicated tax support?
Yes. In our area, Jeannette's Public Library receives 1.24 mills from a referendum just approved in 2016. Norwin's Public Library receives 1.2 mills from a levy created many years ago.
What will the measure cost property owners?
Based on the property’s appraised value, 1 mill would cost the average homeowner an estimated $20 to $30 annually or $1.67 to $2.50 per month.
On which ballots will the referendum be placed and how much income is 1 mill expected to generate? (approximations)
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The library is a resource to our whole community - whether young readers, mature readers, entrepreneurs, local businesses, researchers, teachers, schools, pre-schools, and everyone else. Stop in or visit the GHAL and Youngwood Branch and see what they offer! http://www.ghal.org/
The Vote Yes! Save the Library Committee is comprised of citizens and community members whom want to save the library and are committeed to having successful referenda.
Chair, Dr. Paul S. Adams
Treasurer, Nancy Harris