The rising cost of providing materials in ever-popular electronic formats, from books to music, is one of the reasons the Grayslake Area Public Library has had to increase its tax levy for 2012, said Library Director Roberta Thomas.
"Our patrons are requesting more materials in electronic formats which means we are buying in both print and electronic formats – and the book publishers have been known to price the eBook at three times the cost of the printed book. Patrons also are asking for downloadable music and electronic magazines," she said.
"If we did not increase our tax levy, we could not purchase additional materials in these increasingly popular formats."
The library also anticipates having to replace much of the facility's carpet, which had a 10-year expected lifespan but has been maintained for 16 years. The replacement costs are to be spread out over at least two budget years, said Thomas.
"And then, like everyone else, we are facing increasing costs for insurance, utilities, small raises for the staff and general operating expenses."
Ninety percent of the library's funding come from property taxes. The remainder, said Thomas, comes from interest, overdue fines, photocopying and printing revenue and gifts from the Friends of the Grayslake Library, the Grayslake Library Foundation and individual donors.
The library is limited in how much it can seek to increase property taxes to 5 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. The rate of inflation is determined by CPI (Consumer Price Index). This year's CPI is 3 percent. Last year it was 1.5 percent.
At a meeting earlier this month, the library board voted 6-1 to approve a $3.2 million tax levy for 2012, an increase of $155,000 or 5.1 percent over 2011. This would equate to an increase of about $13 a year for the average homeowner.
However, the library anticipates a levy extension of $3.1 million, which would cost the average homeowner another $8 per year.
"It's not a large amount," said Thomas. "Anyone checking out one DVD from the library instead of purchasing it would more than make up for the difference."
Last year, the library levied for $3.17 million, but was extended $3 million.
The library's Corporate and Special Funds account for $2.8 million of the total 2012 levy request, an increase of 6.8 percent over 2011.
The Building Bond account for about $395,000, a decrease of 5.6 percent from last year.
"The building bond payments are decreasing," said Thomas.
"The payment schedule was determined when the bonds were refinanced at lower interest rates a number of years ago. This is the last year we will levy for the building bonds. They will be paid off June 30, 2014. That will save the taxpayers about $400,000 per year starting with the 2013 levy."