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Library board promises: Good one year only

During the current library funding debate, Evanston Library Board members have promised they won’t raise the library levy to the statutory .23 percent limit — a move that could increase library taxes by as much as 80 percent.

During the current library funding debate, Evanston Library Board members have promised they won’t raise the library levy to the statutory .23 percent limit — a move that could increase library taxes by as much as 80 percent.

They’ve otherwise ducked specifics about their plans for taxing Evanston residents, saying only that they will have a budget adopted by December.

But whatever the board members may say or do, their promises are good for one year only.

That’s because the terms of eight of the nine appointed board members expire within the next 15 months.

Here’s the breakdown:

* The terms of Karen Terry, who voted to impose the tax levy, and Brooks Rothman, who missed the tax levy vote, expired last week, on Aug. 30. Both have served two terms and so are not eligible for reappointment.

* The terms of Susan Newman, who voted for the tax levy, and Dona Gerson, who voted against it, run out March 30. Newman is finishing her first term and could be reappointed by the mayor. Gerson has served two terms and is not eligible for reappointment.

* The terms of Gail Bush, who voted for the tax levy, and Lynette Murphy, who voted against it, run out on Sept. 15, 2011. Bush is finishing her first term and could be reappointed by the mayor. Murphy has served two terms and is not eligible for reappointment.

* The terms of Chris Stewart and Susan Stone, who both voted for the tax levy, run out on Nov. 15, 2011. Both are in their second terms and are not eligible for reappointment.

* The first term of the ninth board member, Diane Allen-Jacobi, extends until Dec. 30, 2012. She voted for the tax levy.

So there is no way to tell whether the proposed library levy in future years would rise to tax cap limit — or for that matter whether a new board might return to Evanston’s traditional practice of letting the City Council set the spending level for library services.

It all depends on the views of board members who haven’t been appointed yet.

 

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