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Library tax gets OK for April ballot

Funds from property tax increase would finance two new libraries – one south, one north.
Friday, January 12, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 2:31 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 3, 2008

Voters in the Boone County Library District will be asked in April to increase their taxes by 21 cents per $100 of assessed property value to finance new libraries in northern Columbia and Ashland.

The ballot issue was approved Thursday night after a unanimous vote by the five members of the Boone County Library District Board of Trustees. Revenues from the property tax increase would pay for the construction, land acquisition and operating expenses for a new and larger Southern Boone County library in Ashland and a second in north Columbia near U.S. 63 and Route B.

“We went through numerous financial scenarios to ensure we are requesting the right tax rate that is possible and most economical,” said Melissa Car, Daniel Boone Regional Library director.

Voter approval would raise the current levy of 29.86 cents per $100 of assessed property value to 50.86 cents. Under the plan, the tax rate would decrease to 45.86 cents in 2017.

The owner of a house assessed at $100,000 in the Boone County Library District would pay a total of $96.634 a year in taxes, an addition of $39.90 to the current $56.734. As of March 1, 2006, there were 53,862 registered voters in the Boone County Library District.

Jim Smith, head of financial services for the Daniel Boone Regional Library, said a 21-cent increase would raise $2.8 million a year for the next 10 years.

Under the current project plan, the total cost estimate for acquiring land, constructing facilities and paying operating expenses for the north Columbia branch is estimated at $10.5 million. Construction of the 20,000-square-foot branch is planned to begin in 2010 and should be completed in the spring of 2011.

The proposed location for the northern Columbia branch would be on six to 10 acres of the Atkins tract near the Boone County Fairgrounds. The tract is part of the 80 acres of public land donated by businessman Tom Atkins for recreational use. The plan includes an extension of Waco Road for access.

Elinor Barrett, associate director of the Daniel Boone Regional Library, said there are no designs for the north branch because the location has not yet been determined.

The Ashland library would be built first and then the trustees would start planning the design for the new Columbia library. The Ashland library is supposed to encompass about 11,030 square feet and is expected to cost about $5 million. If approved, construction would start in the winter of 2008 and end in the spring of 2009.

“We look forward to enjoying an array of community support and will depend on support from a wide variety of groups and individuals to ensure the success of the long-range plan,” said Jessica Robinson, secretary of the Boone County Library District Board of Trustees.

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