WEST ELLICOTT – Residents in the Southwestern School District will have to pay a library tax the next time their school tax bills are due.
By a narrow margin of 425-413, district voters approved a referendum to establish an annual $204,000 library tax levy, with the money going to both the Lakewood Memorial Library and the Hazeltine Public Library in Busti.
Starting in 2019, the Lakewood library will receive $139,000 annually while the Hazeltine Public Library will receive $65,000. The referendum was put on the ballot due to financial challenges facing both libraries.
Property owners throughout the school district will see a library tax rate of about $0.32 per thousand assessed value. That means a home valued at $75,000 would pay an annual tax of $24.
State law requires the proposed creation of any library taxing district to be put up for a public vote by the school district in which the library is located.
Voters also approved the $28.69 million 2018-19 school budget and the $368 million school bus purchase proposition – both by a 2 to 1 margin.