Keremeos to vote on tax increase to fund public library

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Keremeos to vote on tax increase to fund public library
Keremeos to vote on tax increase to fund public library – Feb 20, 2017

The Keremeos public library is hoping to turn the page on a challenging financial chapter with the help of local residents.

Residents in the Village of Keremeos as well as Cawston and Hedley will head to the polls on April 8th to vote in a referendum on whether or not to increase taxes in support of the public library.

Keremeos Mayor Manfred Bauer calls it a temporary solution as municipal governments pressure the province into adequately funding rural libraries.

“If this was a long time thing, this would be another downloading onto local governments what should be a provincial mandate. Libraries are an extended arm of the education system, particularly in rural areas where we don’t have the resources that bigger centers have,” he said.

Bauer adds it will cost $10,000 to hold the referendum but the tax increase would be nominal.

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“If the house is valued at $211,000 your contribution would be $8.06 annually,” he said.

The Keremeos public library is facing a $25,000 budget shortfall.

If the referendum fails, operating hours will be reduced to four days a week.

Residents in the Similkameen town who spoke with Global News said it’s a small price to pay for a vital asset.

“Educational wise it’s a great cause, it’s one of the only institutions left in our town,” one resident told Global News.

“Eight bucks is good, it means our kids are going to read and be educated, no worries,” said another.

Despite advancements in technology and the growing popularity of eReaders, many agree a fully operational brick-and-mortar public library needs to be protected.

“The library has kept up with the digitalization of demands nowadays, and I think the library needs to remain an important part of our community,” Bauer argued.

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