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Voters reject Hiawatha library levy
Nov. 5, 2013 8:27 pm
On Tuesday, voters rejected a measure for a special tax to fund additional staff and an expansion of the Hiawatha Public Library, 150 W. Willman St., Hiawatha. The proposed levy, which would've been for 27 cents per $1,000 of assessed property valuation, fell 52.9 percent to 47.1 percent with 949 total votes. The results remain unofficial until the canvass later this month.
"It's quite disappointing," said Library Director Jeaneal Weeks. "We were hoping to be able to move forward with more staff."
Weeks estimated that, had voters approved the measure, the tax would've brought in an additional $80,000 to $90,000 annually for the library. She said the plan would've been to use $30,000 to fund two part-time staff positions to remove pressure from current library employees, who she said are "stretched pretty thin," with the remainder going toward a plan to double the size of the structure to 17,000 square feet. Weeks said construction was set to begin in 2016.
The director said she was surprised at the lack of voter support and attributed the outcome in part to the fact that the tax was "open ended" and thus did not have a end date.
"We can try again in two years and perhaps do more outreach or a better job of reaching people," she said.