published Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Dade County vote offers library support

Marshana Sharp, left, education coordinator and manager at the Dade County Library, utilizes the help of her nephew, Ryan Warren, center, and son, Brandon Sharp, to unpack boxes on her day off Monday.
Marshana Sharp, left, education coordinator and manager at the Dade County Library, utilizes the help of her nephew, Ryan Warren, center, and son, Brandon Sharp, to unpack boxes on her day off Monday.
Photo by Tim Barber.

A straw poll in Tuesday's primary election showed about 71 percent of Dade County voters favor dedicating a fixed portion of property taxes to help support the library.

Voters may get a chance to make that official in November.

County Commission Chairman Ted Rumley said Wednesday that commissioners want to put a proposal for a new, half-mill property tax before voters on the Nov. 6 ballot.

"We're going to try to get it on the real election," Rumley said. "We're trying to find out how to go about putting that on."

Under current property values, the proposed millage would raise $208,000 annually for the library, Rumley said, a significant increase from the $64,800 the county now provides per year.

"I'm excited," said Lecia Eubanks, director of the Cherokee Regional Library system, which runs the Dade County Library in Trenton and three branches in Walker County. "All we really want is secure funding for the library."

The Dade County Library has been in crisis mode following the county Board of Education's 4-1 vote on July 23 to cut the library's funding from $39,000 a year to zero, citing budget struggles of its own. The city of Trenton also cut its library funding to $5,000 annually.

Following the cutbacks, the Trenton library was poised to reduce its hours to only 20 per week. But a fundraising campaign has raised $16,637 toward the $19,000 required to keep the library open 30 hours per week.

"It's been raised in about two weeks," Eubanks said.

about Tim Omarzu...

Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.

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