Wood County Public Library Officials Discuss Fee With Commission | News, Sports, Jobs


Jennifer Carpenter, a member of the Parkersburg-Wood County Library Board of Trustees, and Brian Raitz, director of the library, appeared before the Wood County Commission on Monday to discuss the rebate of the renewal fee for the library on the November 8 ballot. The tax was on the ballot in the primary election. in May. Although there was a majority of people who voted in favour, the levy failed about 56% of the 60% plus one required to pass. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

PARKERSBURG — The ongoing levy for the Parkersburg-Wood County Public Library will be back on the ballot in November.

The Wood County commission approved the implementation of the library renewal fee in the Nov. 8 ballot, with all three commissioners voting to approve its implementation.

The levy was on the ballot in the primary election in May. Although there was a majority of people who voted in favour, the levy failed about 56% of the 60% plus one required to pass.

Brian Raitz, director of the Parkersburg-Wood County Public Library, and Jennifer Carpenter, a member of the library’s board of trustees, appeared before the commission to discuss it.

Raitz said there was confusion over some of the ballot wording in May, with people wondering if it was a new tax.

“(Some) knew it was a renewal and voted for it anyway,” he said. “Hopefully a new language will help.”

The library levy charges 1.08 cents per $100 of property assessment for Class II (residential) properties. The owner of a home worth $100,000 would pay $6.48 a year or $4.32 if granted a homestead exemption, officials say.

The levy is expected to bring in about $2.9 million a year for the next five years.

The purpose of money is always the same. In addition to helping fund the library for the next five years, it will fund the construction of a library in Williamstown and repay loans for facilities on South Parkersburg and Emerson Avenue.

Officials discussed how proposed amendments to the state Constitution on the ballot change how personal property is taxed and how that will affect counties and other entities. County officials are concerned about having to cut the budgets of county departments, including the sheriff’s department.

The tax on libraries represents 30% of their financing.

Raitz thinks the renewal levy will pass in November.

“We wish you all the happiness in the world” said Commission President Blair Couch.

Officials discussed efforts in other parts of the country to ban the books.

Raitz said they didn’t ban any books. He said October is “Forbidden Books Month” where they highlight books on banned or disputed lists.

“We get challenges to the books from time to time,” Raitz said.

He said he’s spoken to people and told them he understands and respects their position, but everyone has the right to read what they choose. There are things in the library that some people don’t want to read, but others want to read and should have that opportunity, Raitz said.

“It’s serving someone in the community,” he said.

He has to buy materials he wouldn’t read, but he knows other people who want them and he has to make them available.

“I will do it,” Raitz said.

Brett Dunlap can be reached at [email protected]

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