GREAT FALLS — On February 21st, the Great Falls City Commission voted to put a proposed Library Mill Levy to a June 6 election, letting voters decide whether to approve it or not.
MTN News initially reported: "If the mill levy fails, the library will have to close its doors."
In fact, the library would not have to close its doors, but it would have to reduce its days and/or hours of operation.
Susie McIntyre, the director of the library, said, “The library is really at a crossroads. Our costs have been going up dramatically for years and our funding has remained relatively flat. And so next year, if the mill levy doesn't pass, we're looking at cutting staff and services, which will mean that we will have fewer programs for children. We will not be able to restart our homebound program. We will have to reduce our hours of service so that we're only open five days a week.”
To reiterate what was previously reported, the Great Falls Public Library is requesting $1,594,500 equating to 15 mills.
According to Montana Library State Standards, for a city with a population of 25,000+, the library must meet a minimum requirement of 50 hours of operation per week. If the library does not receive funding from the Mill Levy, it cannot keep the doors open often enough to meet state standards. Therefore, the library would be disqualified from receiving state funding of approximately $30,000 (State Funding per Capita = $29.716) per year.
With adequate funding from the Library Mill Levy, the library would be able to expand its services to seven days a week.
“We are not asking for the Taj Mahal in this Mill Levy. What we are asking for is to get up to the state average. If this mill levy passes, depending on how population growth goes in the city of Great Falls, we will be at around $32 per capita in support for the library, which is right on the average for cities in Montana.”
The Great Falls Public Library offers a multitude of services to the public and youth including early literacy and after-school programs for children and parents, computer technology classes and expanded support for job seekers, and providing a College Readiness Program for teens that include literacy programs, test prep, and college application assistance. Those are only a few of the programs the library offers and without Mill Levy funding Bookmobile services will be maintained three days a week, eliminating homebound services and programming for people who are disabled and elderly, and failing to adequately address Library safety so that parents, seniors, and families feel welcome at the library.
McIntyre is an open book and willing to answer any questions: “If people have questions, they are welcome to reach out to me… We know that the taxpayers of Great Falls deserve good service and transparency on how their money is spent, and we are committed to providing that to them.”
Click here to view the complete presentation of the mill levy proposal, or click here for information on the Library website.
Questions or comments about this article/video? Click here to contact Ryan.
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