Voters Deciding on New Library Tax

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On this election day, voters in Conyngham and at other polling places are deciding if they want a new library tax to fund the Hazleton Area Public Library and four branch locations.

Bob Molitoris said he voted on the referendum.  "I voted for it because I think the library is important," he said.

Library director Jim Reimmiller is busy visiting polling places, passing out information about what he called the need for the new tax. Reimmiller said his organization is financially strapped.

"If we don't get this dedicated tax we're looking at some pretty serious cuts and that may include reducing hours or closing one of our branches," Reimmiller said.

Brenda Tomaino  said she doesn't like to think that her favorite library could close because it is walking distance from her home.  "If this library branch would close and we had to travel somewhere to a library I don't know if we would get there often, so we wouldn't be happy if. If it closed, we would be sad," said Tomaino.

The new library tax would affect portions of Luzerne, Carbon and Schuylkill counties. If you have a house in Luzerne County worth $100,000 it would cost about $18 a year,and  in Carbon and Schuylkill counties about $30 a year

Currently the Hazleton Area School District helps fund the library, but cut the amount this year by $60,000. Superintendent Frank Antonelli said it couldn't be helped. "Our district is under stress as many other districts are, and that's made worse by the budget cuts by Governor Corbett," Antonelli said.

School business administrator Tony Reba said he likes the idea of a separate tax for the public library.

"Every year the board has to deal with how much we're going to provide the library, so this would take it off our plate and it would be funded through that milage rate from that point forward," explained Reba.

If approved by the voters, the new library tax could go into effect this July.