Cedar County has been fortunate to have a county library system that has been funded since 1947. At that time, a 10 ¢ per hundred dollar property tax assessment was established by Cedar County to fund library service in the county. El Dorado Springs City Library became part of Cedar County Library system in 1949. This has been an amazing tax effort on our Cedar County property taxpayers to make available libraries for all of its county residents to use—funded primarily from property taxpayers. Stare funding is for pone E-rate, MOREnet funding for internet services and some grants.
As time has advanced to higher operational expenses, our library system needs additional funding to help with normal upkeep of two libraries, heating cooling and other supplies, salaried employees, funding for internet usage, building rental at El Dorado Springs, computer upgrades and most difficult is the budgeting amount of funding from the state government that we need to operate our library district. The cause of less funding is related to the Hancock Amendment enacted in 1980. Over the years it has reduced our $0.10 amount to varying lower amounts as low as $0.06 per hundred dollar property tax assessment to our current amount of $0.08 per hundred dollar property tax assessment.
Some areas of funding from the State of Missouri have been difficult to budget, because a previous governor withheld funds or cut funds to balance our state budget. Our current funding has come under scrutiny on the state level as to what can be cut to balance our Missouri government spending through June 30, 2017.
Missouri is required to have a balanced budget and when the funds coming in do not meet the expenses going out, areas have to be cut. Often times, part of our state funding is in limbo as to whether it can be budgeted in the 12 months we operate in. We operate on a Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 year budget and the state operates on a July 1 to June 31 budget. So, our dilemma occurs when we make a budget by Dec. 31 for the coming Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 year, only to learn that January through June the state funds have been cut in areas that we may not have extra funds to cover planned spending.
We were able to work with Rep. Sue Entlicher who created a bill asking the State Legislature for permission to ask for a sales tax in Cedar county for library operations. Rep. Entlicher, as well as Rep. Mike Kelley, Rep. Warren Love and Senator Mike Parson, were able to create and pass legislation in 2016 to get Governor Nixon to sign legislation allowing us to seek a county sales tax to help fund our library expenses. This was accomplished on Aug. 28, 2016, when Governor Nixon signed HR 1561.
Cedar County Library District is asking for 1⁄4 cent of sales tax for Cedar County to help fund the libraries in our two major cities. Keep in mind this request will be for all residents and visitors spending in Cedar County and not just those owning property to help fund our library district. Remember 1⁄4 cent sales tax would only generate $0.25 on a $100 purchase.
Upon the successful permission by the Cedar County Voting Residents, we will use the additional funds that 1⁄4 cent sales tax will produce to:
1. Increase the speed of internet operation at each library.
2. Seek additional hours of operation at our libraries.
3. Improve the salaries of our employees.
4. Update book collections and replace aged computers.
5. Employ additional employees at each library.
6. Seek additional IT (computer/networking) help.
7. Cover operational expenses due to inflation.
8. Improve our contingency fund.
This additional funding will become active until six months after voter approval. Then the funds will be collected, forwarded to the state revenue department and then returned to the library in about three months. So, sometime in 2018, financial efforts to improve operations of the Cedar County Library District will take effect. Really 2019 will be the year that we can budget improved operations of Cedar County Library District with this additional funding.
Larry Nottingham president
Cedar County Library Board