Voters to decide on Cedar Rapids' library levy following petitio - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Voters to decide on Cedar Rapids' library levy following petition submission

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

An eastern Iowa library damaged in the Floods of 2008 is trying to stay afloat by asking for more tax dollars.

The new Cedar Rapids downtown library is only about three years old.

Dana Schmidt, the library director says in 2013 the city was able to rebuild a new Eco-friendly library using FEMA funds along with private funraising to help pay for it, with hopes of sustaining it.

Schmidt says the push for a 27-cents levy will help with the operating cost.

“This has actually been an issue since well before the flood. Signatures were gathered back in 2007, but the floods happened and everything else happened and so the libraries' operations funding has been an issue for many, many years,” said Schmidt.

A petition with more than 3,000 signatures was delivered to Cedar Rapids City Hall requesting the property-tax increase on Tuesday.

“[The downtown library] has zero debt so the building to build the library there is no debt on this library,” said Chris Casey, co-chair of Our Library, Our Community Campaign.

Casey says her group is pushing for the levy, to sustain the downtown library and the LADD library in Cedar Rapids.

“For multiple years now, the library has been looking into sustainable levels of funding and how we can make that happened and in the state of Iowa the way to do that is through this special library levy,” said Schmidt.

A library levy is nothing new according to Casey, there was a 4 cents levy already in place well before the downtown library was built, but it expired recently.

Tuesday, the city clerk's office said the petition had enough signatures to be on the November ballot for voters to decide to to approve or reject this library tax increase.

There are 1.4 million items in circulation here at the library - the highest circulation in the state.

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