Hudson may pay more for library service and get lessArea News
-- Hudson-area property owners face the prospect of paying more for library service and getting less tax support for their own library.
By: Randy Hanson , Pierce County Herald
Hudson-area property owners face the prospect of paying more for library service and getting less tax support for their own library.
The St. Croix County Board’s Administrative Committee on Aug. 20 didn’t recommend reducing the county library tax obligation for the four municipal partners in the Hudson Area Joint Library.
That means homeowners in the city of Hudson, village of North Hudson and towns of Hudson and St. Joseph will pay the full county library levy, as well as a local levy for the Hudson Area Library.
In the city of Hudson, homeowners will pay roughly equal amounts to support the local library and meet the county obligation, unless the City Council takes significant action.
The Hudson library is expected to get about $281,000 in city taxes in 2013 if the council keeps its budget roughly the same as this year’s. Meanwhile, city property owners would pay an additional $277,000 to St. Croix County to fund library services.
The county library levy is distributed to municipal libraries around the county to offset the cost of providing service to residents of municipalities that don’t have libraries.
The four Hudson-area municipalities have been exempt from the county library levy since the joint library was formed in 2002. However, the basis for the exemption was the understanding that the municipalities were funding the Hudson library to the same level as the county levy.
Early this year, it was revealed that the local levy hasn’t matched the county levy. Part of the reason for that is the county board’s decision to increase the county library levy to 100 percent of the cost of providing service to non-residents. It previously was 70 percent.
Residents of the town of Hudson are expected to pay about $154,000 in county library taxes, in addition to about $183,500 of the town budget that will go the Hudson Area Library.
The county library levy for the town of St. Joseph is expected to be about $76,000, and for the village of North Hudson, about $62,500. This year, the municipalities contributed roughly $83,000 and $81,300, respectively, to the Hudson library.
If no action is taken by the Hudson-area municipalities, the 2013 budget for the local library is expected to dip below the 2012 budget of roughly $723,500. Property owners, meanwhile, will be paying more for library service.
Property owners would also pay more for library service if the municipalities increased their funding for the Hudson library, but the library’s budget would also swell to more than $1.1 million. County levy money would come into the library for service it provides to residents from outside the area.
But given the constraints of state-imposed levy limits on the municipalities, it will be difficult for them to increase library funding. The city of Hudson is expected to be able to increase its total levy just $43,000 from this year’s levy.
The topic of library funding was on the agenda for the City Council meeting Tuesday night.
The agenda also said the council would be going into closed session “to deliberate or negotiate regarding the possible sale of the city property at 700 First St.”
That’s the address of the Hudson Area Library. The building also houses the Hudson Police Department.
It was unknown if the council is seriously considering selling the building when this edition of the Star-Observer went to press.
Watch www.hudsonstarobserver.com for a report on Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.