Heights Libraries tax levy passes

Heights voters passed a library tax levy on Nov. 4, with 68 percent (11,293) voting in favor, and 32 percent (5,302) opposed, according to unofficial results reported by the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.

The levy is for an additional 2.2 mills (22 cents for each $100 of property valuation), and will cost homeowners $77 per year for each $100,000 of home valuation. The library’s last levy passed in 2008.

In a press release, Nancy Levin, Heights Libraries director, stated, “We are so very grateful to our citizens for voting to support us. Passage of this levy ensures the long-term financial security of our neighborhood branches, and ensures that Heights Libraries can continue its level of superior service to all of our citizens.”

The library levy is expected to generate $2.3 million a year, and the library plans to use the additional funds to restore services that were cut in 2009, when the Ohio Public Library fund was cut, including offering Sunday hours at all branches. Currently, only the University Heights and Lee Road libraries are open on Sundays, 1–5 p.m.; Coventry Village and Noble Neighborhood libraries are both closed on Sunday.

Coventry Village Library patrons saw its hours cut further in November 2013, when the library board voted to close that library on Fridays, for a trial period of one year, in order to add Sunday hours at its University Heights branch, without increasing the budget.

Sheryl Banks, marketing and community relations manager for Heights Libraries, said, “With the passage of the levy, our priority will be to restore Sunday hours at the Noble and Coventry branches, and possibly restore Friday hours at Coventry as well.”

Levin said, “We will be saving our funds so that this levy will last for many, many years,” and provided a list of four priorities for Heights Libraries:

  1. Open Noble and Coventry branches on Sundays, hopefully by March.
  2. Continue to remain fiscally responsible.
  3. Renovate and expand the University Heights branch to include a back door, a first floor restroom and more parking.
  4. Continue to improve the Coventry branch—outdoor lighting and moving computers are on the schedule while [the library] creates a very exciting early literacy playroom in the children’s area.

Kim Sergio Inglis

Kim Sergio Inglis is editor-in-chief of the Heights Observer. She lives in the Shaker Farm Historic District in Cleveland Heights.

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Volume 7, Issue 12, Posted 11:36 AM, 11.05.2014