Since 2008, the Jackson County Public Library has been supported by an excess levy. The four-year levy has been renewed in 2012 and 2016.
At the Dec. 11 meeting of the Jackson County Commission, Suzy McGinley, Library Board of Trustees President and Library Director John Faria requested the levy be placed on the May 12, 2020 primary election ballot for renewal.
Commissioners Dick Waybright and Mitch Morrison were presented with statistics to show the importance of the county library system. Commissioner Mike Randolph was not present.
According to McGinley, the library circulated 85,034 items and saw 67,028 visitors in fiscal year 2018. Faria added that the libraries offered 428 programs with 5,623 attendees.
The levy funds will be used for personnel, materials, services, and occupancy costs according to Faria.
“We are asking that the levy be kept at the current rate,” Faria said. “We want to maintain the level of service that our patrons have come to expect.”
Public libraries, which receive state Grants in Aid (GIA) at a level set by the West Virginia Legislature, are to seek local funding to equal or exceed that state funding. Jackson County Library received $148,807 in this fiscal year. In fiscal year 2018, the library received $252,108.77 from the excess levy.
Waybright said the he saw no reason the levy would not be included on the primary ballot.
But he cautioned that passage is up to the voters.
“We can put the levy on the ballot, but it’ll be your job to get the voters out,” Waybright said.
The excess levy must receive 60 percent approval to pass.
Two new organizations, the Commission on Aging and 911, have asked that excess levies be placed on the May ballot. The emergency services levy is also up for renewal and is expected to make a request as well.
Emergency services and economic development were also topics of discussion.
Walt Smittle, Office of Emergency Services Director, reported that, after two years of random spot checking, the National Weather Service will designate Jackson County as a “storm ready county.”
Representatives from the Mid-Ohio Workforce Development Board gave an update on employer programs.
The agency, which covers nine counties, provides several services that benefit both employers and potential employees.
Janelle Comstock and Amber Jackson shared opportunities for employers to hire workers that could be subsidized up to 100 percent.
“These programs can have a definite impact on the county’s economy,” Jackson said. “We’ve increased the number of potential employees greatly and are ready to help employers to connect with these people.”
The Commission went into executive session to consider personnel issues brought by County Clerk Cheryl Bright. No action was reported.
In other business:
• Ceason Ranson and Kerry Casto were approved to serve the unexpired terms of Norma Jean Cope and Forest Wiblen on the Jackson County Development Authority.
• Tom Cline was hired as part-time airport employee.
• The Commission will meet next at 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 20.