Hudson library levy renewal approved by wide margin

Leaders 'thrilled' with strong support from community

Phil Keren
Kent Weeklies
Hudson Library poll worker Eric Blemaster, left, helps Betsy Caric cast her ballot at the Hudson Library and Historical Society on Tuesday, May 4. City voters easily approved Issue 1, which renewed a 2.9-mill levy for the library for five more years.

HUDSON — Library leaders said they were "thrilled" with the strong support that the institution's levy request received at the ballot box.

Issue 1, the 2.9-mill, five-year levy renewal request for the Hudson Library and Historical Society, received decisive approval in Tuesday's primary election.

The tax measure was backed by a tally of 2,087 (75.5%)-677 (24.5%) according to final but unofficial results from the Summit County Board of Elections.

More:Hudson Library seeks renewal of 2.9-mill levy in May

"We are thrilled that the Hudson community supported the levy in such overwhelming numbers," said Basil Musnuff, president of the library board and the chair of Hudson Citizens for a Strong Library. "We received over 75% of the vote which is 8% higher than we did the last time we ran a levy in 2016."

Musnuff added he felt the most important factor in the levy's overwhelming passage was the library leadership's decision to seek a straight renewal rather than an increase in the amount being collected. He said he felt that action showed officials were "sensitive" to the economic challenges people have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The Hudson community has been good to the library, so the board wanted to be good to the community in return," Musnuff said. "We think the community appreciated that show of good faith."

Since there were not many items on the ballot, Musnuff said a "concerted effort" was made to encourage voters to head to the polls.

Jessica Churbock gets assistance upon arriving at the Hudson Library voting location on Tuesday, May 4, in Hudson.

E. Leslie Polott, executive director and curator of the library and historical society, said she received a lot of positive feedback from the community during the levy campaign.

"It was very gratifying to have so many patrons tell us that the Hudson Library was their lifeline during the darkest hours of pandemic," Polott said. "People used the library to get books at the window or through our curb-side service when the building had to be closed. The library enhanced its digital offerings to be more accessible during the pandemic. People loved being able to access programming remotely through streaming platforms."

The levy costs $72.10 per $100,000 of home valuation per year.

The levy generates about $2.6 million annually and makes up about 66% of the library's operating revenue, according to Polott. The remaining amount of funding for the library comes from the Ohio Public Library Fund.

The results will be certified by the board of elections on May 25.

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