January 26, 2022

Funding: “Court Ruling Has Kentucky Libraries on Edge”

From the Cincinnati Enquirer/Cincinnati.com:

A judge’s decision in Campbell County has libraries across the state fearful it might lead to closings and cuts should the ruling stand.

The ruling could slice the property tax rate for the Campbell County Library District by more than half – from 7.7 cents per $100 to its 1978 level of 3 cents.

Circuit Court Judge Julie Reinhardt Ward ruled Tuesday that the library had improperly raised tax rates over the past 35 years by not gathering a petition as required by state law.


The court case deals with apparently conflicting laws.

Ward cited state law that says the tax rate for a library organized by petition cannot be changed without the district gathering a petition signed by 51 percent of the number of qualified voters in the previous general election.

Library officials, however, have said they are governed by legislation passed by the General Assembly in 1979 that gives libraries’ taxing districts the same taxing powers as other taxing districts.


Ward’s ruling only applies to Campbell County, but many think it could set a precedent for other library districts. Kentucky has 79 library districts established through a petition like the one that created Campbell County’s. The Campbell district was formed in 1978 with a petition gathered by residents.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.