Shorewood-Troy Library referendum seeks funds for new building
By Clare Walters Correspondent March 10, 2013 11:12PM
Director Jennie Cisna Mills stands near the main entry way at the Troy Shorewood Library in Shorewood, Illinois, Thursday, March 7, 2013. The library has a building referendum on the upcmoing April, 9th ballot. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 20, 2013 6:02AM
The Shorewood-Troy Public Library District was established more than 35 years ago and to this day still collects the same amount of taxes as it did then.
Library officials are hoping voters will change that fact with approval of a tax referendum question on the April 9 election ballot.
Library Director Jennie Cisna Mills said the library district is 1.8 percent of a resident’s tax bill and the referendum proposal would increase that to a little more than 6 percent.
“We know it’s a big tax jump, but it probably should have been done incrementally (over the years),” she said.
For the average Shorewood-area home with a value of $197,000, the increase would amount to about $19 per month, which Mills said is less than the cost of a hard cover book. For a $250,000 home, the cost is $26 per month, which is the cost of a hard cover book.
“You’re buying a book,” she said. “That’s what you’re doing.”
The increased tax rate would allow for the construction of a new $21 million library that would meet the standards set for public libraries.
“We are below the minimum state standard for a community of our size,” Mills said. “We know our building is too small. (Building a new library) is really our only alternative.”
Library officials have been working with a consultant over the last 18 months to evaluate its needs and develop plans for a new library.
“We’re cautiously optimistic,” Mills said of the referendum. “No one wants a tax increase, but I know people know we need a new library.”
More than 80,000 people use the Shorewood-Troy library each year. The new library will feature twice as many books and materials, nearly three times the number of computers, group study rooms and more parking.
“The building is designed to grow with the community,” she said. “It will be exactly what we need 25 years from now. I think this is going to add to the value of our community overall.”
Residents interested in learning more about the referendum can find information on the library’s website, www.shorewood.lib.il.us. Library staff and board members also are hosting meet-and-greets on the six Saturdays preceding the election to answer questions, explain library plans and solicit input from residents.