At the regularly scheduled Trimble County Fiscal Court meeting on September 19th, Library Director Dena Ratliff Warren presented tax rates for the upcoming year. These rates include a property tax rate of 10.08 cents per $100 of assessed property, a tangible property tax rate of 11.55 cents per $100 assessed property and 4 cents per $100 for motor vehicle tax. The Library Board of Trustees adopted these rates during a regularly scheduled, open meeting on July 21st, 2022. These rates reflect a decrease in rates for the fourth straight year.
During the fiscal court meeting, Magistrate, J.D. Jones asked why library tax rates were so high. Ms. Ratliff Warren indicated that the library requires $600,000 - $800,000 annually in revenue to operate efficiently. She explained that the Library relies heavily on the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA) and the Department of Local Government(DLG) to set these rates, which is a complicated process.
Every year, Jill Mahoney, the Trimble County Property Valuation Administrator, assesses property values. These assessments are then sent to KDLA and the DLG to formulate a compensating tax rate that will provide the same amount of income as the previous year. KDLA then sends these recommended rates to library boards to set rates. Library Trustees can vote to adopt the compensating rate that will bring in similar income as the previous year, adopt a rate that is lower than the compensating rate that would bring less income than the previous year, or adopt a higher than that rate up to a 4% increase. A public hearing is required for a tax rate of 4% to be adopted.
Since 2018, Trimble Library Trustees have elected to decrease property tax rates by 1.82 cents per $100 of property assessed. They have elected to decrease tangible property tax rates by 3.36 cents per $100 assessed property since 2018.
During the fiscal court meeting, Magistrate, J.D. Jones also questioned the library budget for the year and pointed out that the library seemed to have an excess of funds with $1.4 million in cash on hand and an estimated $712,000 in expected revenue for the year. Ms. Ratliff Warren indicated that the library keeps 6-9 months operating cash on hand as recommended by KDLA. The majority of library income is received during October and January which requires the library to have cash on hand to operate during months when very little income is received. The library also has funds set aside for emergency repairs and for improvements or capital purchases.
Executive Judge, Todd Pollock, and Magistrate Kenny Green, commended the library for all the programs that are held for all ages and the the things they do for the community. Magistrate Jones acknowledged the library's work to help increase access to the Internet throughout the county. After much discussion, the fiscal court unanimously approved the library tax rates for 2022-2023 fiscal year.
Ms. Ratliff Warren thanked the fiscal court for their support and indicated that they will be completing long range plans this year and will be reaching out to community members and government officials to sit on a long range planning committee to provide input on where library reserves should be allocated.
Trimble County Board of Trustees president, Michelle Griffith commended Ms Ratliff Warren and her staff for doing an excellent job at keeping the Library programs and technology up to date with these ever changing times. She said, “We take great pride as a Board in being frugal with the people's money and very conscientious of keeping the taxes as low as possible while still offering the best services. I would challenge anyone to compare our Library to any in the region. We have one of the very best.”