South Routt residents boost library budget with passing of 6A
South Routt voters approved a measure to allow the South Routt Library District to grow its budget by removing the cap on revenue.
In the waning hours of Election Day, South Routt Library District Manager Debbie Curtis expressed confidence that Ballot Issue 6A would pass ahead of results, but was still engulfed in emotion when she saw the margin of victory.
“We canvased and canvased and canvased over the past four weekends, and we had great feedback,” Curtis said, choking up with tears of joy. “I’m just so happy. It’s fantastic that our residents support our two libraries in Yampa and Oak Creek.”
Of the 1,484 South Routt votes counted through 9:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 80.2% voted in favor.
Currently, the district is restricted by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, commonly known as TABOR. Passed by voters in 1992, TABOR has since limited the South Routt Library District to a 5.5% increase each year. This amendment to the Colorado Constitution generally limits the number of revenue governments and special districts the state can retain and spend absent voter approval, and it requires excess revenue to be refunded to taxpayers.
In recent years, the district’s revenue has dwindled in part due to TABOR, but also reduced production and taxes at Twentymile Coal Mine.
In 2022, the district’s budget for books was $6,900, but at one point it was $10,000, which does not go very far with the rising price of books.
With 6A passing, the library can not only afford to get books again, but allow the district to increase salaries of current employees to a more liveable wage.
“It means more programming, more resources for us,” Curtis said. “Maybe it means more hours being open. We talked about at our last board meeting what we would do.”
In 2012, the South Routt Library District generated $142,000 but 10 years later that revenue is at $100,500 because of TABOR restrictions. The estimated revenue for next year is $105,000 and with 6A passing, the district could see an $8,500 increase in revenue in 2023 and up to a $68,000 increase by 2024.
Shelby Reardon is the assistant editor at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach her, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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