by Martha Quetsch
SUGAR GROVEâ€”The Sugar Grove Library District has held 10 referendums since 2004 asking voters to approve more taxes for operations. Each time, voters defeated the district’s proposal. The Library Board has not given up but does not plan to hold another referendum until next spring at the earliest.
â€œConsidering the amount of negativity (in the community related to recent library expense cuts), I don’t see how that can be turned around by November to have a successful referendum campaign,â€ Library Board member Sheree Novotny said during the board’s July 8 meeting.
â€œI am also not in favor of holding a referendum in this economy,â€ Novotny added.
Other board members agreed.
The Library Board on June 23 cut employees’ salaries by 5 percent because of revenue constraints in the library’s operating budget, which funds staff wages and benefits.
Village resident Mari Johnson told the Library Board members July 8 that she opposed the pay cuts and wanted them to look at how to boost property tax revenue to address the budget crisis, instead.
â€œFocus your energy on how to get a referendum passed and why the public won’t approve one,â€ Johnson said.
Novotny told the board July 8 that the greatest challenge they must tackle to achieve a successful referendum is making sure the public understands it.
Sugar Grove opened the doors to its new library building in August 2009. An $8 million building bond that voters approved in a November 2004 referendum paid for the building. However, during the same election, voters did not approve a referendum for a tax increase for library operations.
Since then, the Library District has held operating tax increase referendums in nine elections, and voters defeated all of them: one in 2005, two in 2006, one in 2007, two in 2008, one in 2009, and another in February 2010.