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Library asks council again for $500,000

Harrison County Public Library supporters stepped back to the plate Monday night to ask the county’s money managers to rethink their earlier denial of riverboat tax revenue to expand the library.
Library board president Dr. Leonard Waite asked the council to reconsider its earlier denial of $500,000 in riverboat tax revenue to help pay for the remodeling of the recently purchased section of what had been Union Planters Bank.
He said he believed the council’s rejection was due to misinformation, part of which was due to an outdated long-range plan of the library to open two branches. That overall plan, which would have cost $2.8 million, was rejected due to public opposition, he said.
Instead, the board decided to expand its Corydon location to “serve the public from the existing building,” Waite said.
Since the southern half of the bank building had already been donated to the library, the board at first tried to obtain the north half as a donation. When that failed, Waite said the building was purchased for $500,000, including the parking lot adjacent to the Corydon Town Hall.
“I think it was an intelligent and responsible decision,” Waite told the council. “As of now, there are no plans for branch libraries.”
The purchase and operation of a bookmobile is still in the plan, he added.
Council president Gary Davis said the initial request was rejected by the council. The board had asked for the money from next year’s riverboat revenue set aside for education. A majority of the council decided against the riverboat funding because the library now has tax money available while other groups seeking riverboat revenue do not.
“The majority wanted the library to stand on its own two feet,” Davis said. “That was the basic premise for the vote. The library can raise funds with its own tax rate. A lot of others do not have that available.”
Waite said the board, however, did not want to raise tax rates to fund the project. The library’s tax rate, now at 17 cents per $100 in assessed valuation, is expected to increase from 21 cents to 30 cents, but that will be adjusted, most likely downward, according to the county-wide final assessment.
The Corydon Public Library was expanded to serve all 34,000 county residents in 1999, using riverboat revenue to fund its operations until tax revenue could be received. That began this year.
The council is expected to act on the library’s request at its business meeting Oct. 8 at 7:30 p.m.