By Seth Littrell
Register News Writer
The Madison County Library Board unanimously voted Monday night to lower the personal property tax rate from 12 to 8.5 cents per $100 of assessed property value for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.
Library Director Ruthie Maslin said the decision was made because the library's fiscally conservative practices will allow it to continue growing even with the lowered rate.
“The board felt that, in this economic climate, if we can lower taxes we should,” Maslin said. “It's something to help the taxpayers.”
Maslin said online expansion has allowed the library to increase resources without the need to pay for additional space. It also allows the library to offer free programs that draw a lot of community involvement. As an example, she pointed to the e-book and music download programs, which she said are very popular and don't take up large amounts of space.
Board Chair Ray DeSloover said the decision to lower the rate was easy, and it was largely because of Maslin's management skills, which he described as “absolutely fantastic.”
DeSloover said library visitation is up, and every department is busier because several programs have grown in popularity.
The library will continue to expand even after the decrease, DeSloover said. He mentioned the board is expected to close on a new building soon. The building, which formerly housed apartments, is behind the Richmond branch building. It will be converted to office space so that rooms in the main building can be used for meetings and other public programs, and the property will feature additional parking, DeSloover said.
Maslin said the real property and motor vehicle rates remained the same at 5.6 and 3.5 cents per $100 of assessed value, respectively.
Seth Littrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 624-6623.