Library District lowering property tax rate

Published: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 5:03 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 5:03 p.m.

Even with a new branch about to open in east Gainesville, the Alachua County Library District's 2014 budget still calls for a slight drop in the property tax rate.

The $23.4 million spending plan reduces the tax rate by a little more than 1 percent, from just less than 1.48 mills to just below 1.46 mills. One mill equals $1 of tax for every $1,000 of taxable property value.

The Library District's total tax rate is a combination of the rate for the general operating fund and a rate to pay off debt from a bond floated more than 20 years ago to build several branches.

The tax rate for debt service will inch downward next budget year while the tax rate for the general operating fund will, for the fourth year in a row, remain flat.

“We managed to fund everything while maintaining the same rate,” said County Commissioner Lee Pinkoson, the chair of the Library District Governing Board.

At this point, the budget does not include employee raises. Library Director Shaney Livingstone said union negotiations that include pay are ongoing.

While the district is holding the line on taxes, the general fund budget will increase by about 9 percent to $19.2 million. That is primarily due to an increase in the amount of money transferred to the capital project fund, which is built up to pay for future construction.

Livingston noted that the district has held the line on taxes without reducing hours or services and has spent the last few years renegotiating vendor contracts and making energy efficiency improvements at branches in order to contain spending.

The district expects to open a new branch around December at Cone Park. The main construction project in next year's budget is a $435,000 expansion of the Newberry branch.

The Library District Governing Board's final vote on the budget is set for Sept. 25 at 5:30 p.m.

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