Denver Public Library wants to ask voters for $30 million property tax increase to fund maintenance, improve accessibility

Katie R. Ochoa

Denver Public Library officials want to go to city voters this yr and ask them to approve a residence tax maximize that would infuse an further $31.6 million a calendar year into the library department.

Individuals officials know it’s a major talk to at a sensitive time with inflation placing strain on home budgets. Nonetheless, immediately after many years of being below-funded in contrast to other library networks in the point out and across the country, they really feel the time to act is now. 1st, the library demands the Denver Metropolis Council to concur to refer the would-be tax increase to the November ballot.

“COVID highlighted the devastating impact of the electronic divide and the worries confronted by college students and task seekers. Denver recovering from COVID relies upon on the metropolis being a spot the place all can thrive,” metropolis librarian Michelle Jeske advised the city council’s finances and plan committee on Monday. “Adding $30 million to the library would aid us sustain a world-course library for a planet-class town.”

Unique ballot language has not nevertheless been discovered but the library’s inquire is simple. It would be asking voters to approve a 1.5 mill raise to the city’s mill levy assets tax level. That shakes out to $10.73 for each calendar year for each individual $100,000 in dwelling benefit, or a small much more than $50 per yr for a home valued at the Denver median of $469,000, in accordance to a library presentation. Professional homes would pay $43.50 for each year for every $100,000 in price.

Library officers have now accomplished polling on the likely tax increase and an option measure that would have sought to raise the income as a result of a .2% revenue tax. With more than 700 most likely 2022 voters replying, both equally steps acquired 69% guidance, in accordance to the library presentation.

The additional money would guidance overdue upkeep to library services, assignments to make libraries much more available for folks with disabilities, shell out raises for the district’s a lot more than 500 workers, new know-how, textbooks and other products.

A different critical update in Leske’s perspective would be increasing library hrs on evenings and weekends so learners and task seekers have access to the online, technological know-how and other sources extra commonly. The library community is nonetheless functioning to establish back to the agenda it experienced in advance of the pandemic and has some of the most minimal hours in the broader library landscape, Leske explained.

“We would make investments in our communities by delivering accessibility to know-how, plans and expert services,” she mentioned.

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