Palatine library district seeks tax increase for building projects, other needs
Palatine Public Library District voters will be asked to approve a property tax increase that would generate extra annual income for building upgrades and other needs.
Library board members this week approved placing a referendum question on the April 2 ballot seeking permission to boost the annual property tax levy 29 percent, from 27 cents per $100 of assessed valuation to 35 cents. Officials said an owner of a home with a median fair market value of $266,000 could be expected to pay about $52 extra in taxes annually to the district.
If the tax increase passes, officials said an additional $5.8 million would be generated over the next six years to go toward projects at the 25-year-old main facility in Palatine, including replacement of a significant portion of a leaky roof, energy efficient lighting installation and upgrades to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.
Officials said the extra cash generated from the proposed property tax increase would be enough for the district's needs until at least 2035.
Should the ballot initiative fail, said Executive Director Jeannie Dilger, cuts will be necessary to free up money for the needed building projects. For example, she said, hours of service would be reduced at the main library and the branches in Hoffman Estates and Rand Road in Palatine, and the budget for new materials would be reduced.
"Technology would be limited to the status quo …," Dilger said in a news release. "Vital partnerships and outreach programs would decrease and have a negative impact on school students and underserved populations."
In a letter to the community, the seven-member library board said the extra tax revenue would allow for more new books, movies, music, games and other resources. They also said plans call for expanded hours and greater investment in technology and bandwidth.
Library expenses are projected to exceed income by 2024, according to a report from Ehlers Inc., a financial consulting firm that works with public agencies. Trustee Hal Snyder said about $6.8 million in annual revenue hasn't been enough to keep up with expenses.
Palatine Public Library District serves 90,000 residents, mostly from Palatine and Hoffman Estates.