TERRE HAUTE —
Rockville Public Library’s taxing district has been expanded and now serves nearly all residents of Parke County.
The Parke County Board of Commissioners on Dec. 3 approved an expansion of a taxing district for the library allowing nearly all county residents or real property taxpayers to have full access to the library.
Prior to the action, Parke County residents living outside of Rockville had to purchase a library card for $63 a year.
Parke County Commissioner Greg Harbison said the library will not gain much in new revenue, however, the costs will be spread out among more taxpayers, who can in turn have full access to the library.
“It is adding more assessed value, while before it was just from Adams Township,” Harbison said.
A countywide tax rate, while not yet established, will likely be between 3 to 5 cents per $100 assessed value, said Cindy Hein, director of the Rockville Public Library. Adams Township, which has a tax rate of 12.5 cents per $100, will go to the countywide rate, Hein said.
The new tax rate would not apply until taxes owed in 2014, she added.
Hein said the library’s annual budget will remain about the same, at slightly more than $400,000. The library has five full-time and four part-time employees.
The new library taxing district includes the townships of Adams, Florida, Greene, Howard, Jackson, Liberty, Penn, Raccoon, Sugar Creek, Union, Washington and nearly all of Wabash, where a small portion of that township is served by the Montezuma Public Library. Reserve Township is also served by the Montezuma Public Library.
A public hearing was conducted in September on the taxing district expansion. An initial proposal was to split the population in townships with Montezuma Public Library, however, commissioners sought to have one library taxing district, instead of two, Hein said.
That sparked Montezuma’s board of directors to decide against the measure, allowing Montezuma to keep its own board.
Some new benefits to Parke County residents include having reciprocal agreements with libraries statewide. Hein said as an example, Parke County residents in Greene Township can obtain a Rockville Public Library card and use that card in a library at Crawfordsville.
“It’s a big deal for us,” Hein said, adding that by Dec. 4, the library had 15 people from outside of Adams Township get new library cards. “We have also had tons of calls and not encountered anything negative. We are adding more than 10,000 patrons that we can serve.
“I have been here 28 years and have tried many times for this, so it is exciting,” Hein said.
The Rockville Public Library is at 106 N. Market St. in Rockville, north of the Parke County Courthouse. The library was dedicated in January 1915.
Reporter Howard Greninger can be contacted at (812) 231-4204 or firstname.lastname@example.org.