State funding for Hudson library expected to drop by 10%

Ohio Public Library Fund money provides about 29% of facility's revenues

Phil Keren
Kent Weeklies
The Hudson Library and Historical Society is seeking renewal of a 2.9-mill levy for five more years on May 4. That tax measure generates $2.6 million annually for the library.

HUDSON — With the library seeking voters' support of a levy renewal next month, the facility's other major revenue source is projected to decline by at least 10%.

The Hudson Library and Historical Society is seeking renewal of a 2.9-mill levy for five more years on May 4. The property tax measure is appearing on the ballot as Issue 1.

The levy generates about $2.6 million annually and makes up about 66% of the library's operating revenue, according to E. Leslie Polott, executive director and curator of the library and historical society.

About 29 percent of the library's funding comes from the Ohio Public Library Fund.

State funding for the library has increased "incrementally" from 2017 through 2020, Polott noted, but will drop by 10% and possibly more, in 2021.

Here is a look at how much in state funding the library received in the previous five years: 2017, $1.12 million; 2018, $1.17 million; 2019, about $1.25 million; 2020, about $1.26 million; and 2021, about $1.13 million.

Under the proposed state budget, the percentage of the state's total tax revenue that goes into the Public Library Fund is expected to drop from 1.7% to 1.66% starting July 1. Polott said this represents a 2.5% decrease in state funding for libraries.

"There are also other legislative amendments currently being considered that could further impact the total amount of money Ohio libraries receive," Polott added.

She said the projection that the Hudson Library in 2021 will receive just under $1.13 million in state money did not account for the "likely drop" in funding beginning in July.

"The final funding we will receive will be undoubtedly lower," Polott stated.

Though there were increases in funding in the four years leading up to 2021, Polott noted the amount of state revenue the library is receiving is not keeping up with inflation.

"The amount we are expected to receive in 2021 is only 2.8% more than what we received 13 years ago in 2008," Polott said.

With a revenue stream that does not align with rises in cost-of-living, the library's overall general fund expenses have remained relatively steady for the past five years: 2017, $3.48 million; 2018, $3.68 million; 2019, $3.6 million; 2020, $3.36 million; and 2021, $3.5 million-$3.6 million.

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at pkeren@thebeaconjournal.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.