Hillsboro Library Board Hosts Tax Levy Hearing

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Members of the Hillsboro Area Public Library District Board hosted a truth in taxation hearing and discussed the downtown building project with architects Tuesday, Oct. 15, during their monthly meeting at the library.

No one was present to speak at the truth in taxation hearing, nor did anyone contact the library to ask to speak, according to Director Shelly Kolb.

A truth in taxation hearing is required by law when the property tax levy of any local taxing body in the state is more than five percent above the previous years. After becoming a taxing body in July 2018, the library expanded the district boundaries to include most of the Hillsboro School District in April 2019, resulting in roughly triple the tax base. 

Thus, the estimated total property tax levy for 2019 (payable in 2020) is $300,000–triple the previous year.

"The tax rate is not any different than it was last year," library board President Tish Spelbring pointed out.

The board anticipates taking action on the proposed levy at their next meeting, set for Tuesday, Nov. 19.

"We've had about 34 families in the annexed territory come in for their library cards, and about 20 of those are new," Kolb reported.  "I expect that to continue to increase."

The board also met with a new group of four architects and engineers from Farnsworth Group in Fairview Heights who will re-work plans for the library's future home in the former bank building downtown.  Farnsworth will report on their progress at the November meeting.

Board members asked Farnsworth to make the first floor of the building a priority after verifying that the structural integrity of the floor is sufficient for book shelves, and to plan construction in phases to maximize grant opportunities.

Spelbring said the library has over $210,000 in savings to devote to the project now, and board member Dr. Barb Mulch said the library has applied for a state construction grant and has nearly completed the application for a "Live and Learn" grant.

The capital campaign continues with numerous fundraisers on the schedule, including the Turkey Trot on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Board members also reviewed reports on memorials and gifts, finances, circulation, discussed changing check-signing requirements, and gave permission to use their downtown parking lot as a staging area for the Halloween parade scheduled for Nov. 1.

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