Hamilton County voters pass library tax levy

CINCINNATI -- Hamilton County voters approved a tax levy for libraries Tuesday.

With all 559 precincts reporting, the levy looked to be approved with 62.96 percent of votes in favor and 37.04 percent of votes against, according to unofficial preliminary results from the Hamilton County Board of Elections.

The levy creates a tax benefiting the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County at a rate not exceeding one mill for each dollar of valuation, or $0.10 for each $100,000 of value for 10 years starting in 2019. That's about $35 per year for the owner of a $100,000 house.

The money from the tax, an anticipated $17 million each year, will go toward renovations at various libraries across the county, according to the pro-library group Friends of the Library. The work will include making six branches handicap accessible and ensuring all the others remain handicap accessible, repairing and replacing roofs, window and brickwork and renovating the Main Library's North Building. 

Each of the library's 40 branches is on the list to receive upgrades, said Chris Rice, the marketing manager for the libraries.

The money will also go toward continued purchases of books, reference materials and other materials for the library's patrons and programs and services for students and people looking for jobs, according to the Friends of the Library.

Hamilton County residents are already taxed $28 per year on every $100,000 of property they own for the library’s services.

Rice said without this second levy, the library's financing could fall into the red as early as 2020. He said the library had not started looking at what might need to be cut if the levy failed.

Under the library's building plan, the main library branch in downtown Cincinnati will get a new roof, flooring, furniture and sidewalk replacement.

Click here to see more election results and click here to read more primary election coverage.

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