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New funding formula for Area E library service in works: Faust

Nelson Daily Editor
By Nelson Daily Editor
October 22nd, 2010

By Timothy Schafer, The Nelson Daily

There may be a way around the resultant high cost of library service for some regional district residents in Area E, despite a resounding ‘no’ vote delivered in the Nelson Municipal Library referendum Saturday, says the area’s director.

Ramona Faust said she is working on a solution to provide reduced cost library service to the 225 school children and their families in Area E who were members of the library — at $60 per year — as they now face a rise in the annual membership to $120 per year.

Before the referendum last Saturday, Nelson chief librarian June Stockdale said in order to more accurately reflect the true cost of providing library service to rural residents, a ‘no’ vote against entering into a financial contribution service meant a doubling in annual membership rates to $120.

In the face of Area E’s ‘no’ vote — Area F and southern Area H voted ‘yes’ to the service — Faust is now trying to come up with a funding formula to offset the huge cost those families will bear so they can continue with library service.

“I need to look at what is a reasonable amount to donate to that service to ensure the children that were members have equal access,” she said. “The children had no voice. They couldn’t vote.”

Just how an amount of funding could look, spread amongst those requesting a membership, will be decided on a need basis, said Faust.

The message delivered Saturday in the ‘no’ vote was clear, said Faust: large property owners and waterfront property owners felt they were paying a disproportionate amount of the library service — assessed at $10.30 per $100,000 of property value.

They wanted the regional district to reconsider a different form of taxation for the service because their incomes hadn’t grown the way their property values had, said Faust.

For example, in 1990 many residents paid around $90,000 for their homes, but now they are assessed at upwards of a $1 million. When they were planning their retirement they could not have foreseen that sort of increase, said Faust.

As a result, a new tax based on that increase in value would be a burden on many retired people on a fixed income.

Even so, there won’t be another referendum with a new taxation plan, said Faust.

“The people have spoken at this point and they would be very angry if that would happen,” she said.



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