PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is in need of some serious financial support.
Several local groups have been working to generate funding for quite some time; and today, supporters presented a petition to City Council.
The proposed ballot question calls for the people of Pittsburgh to fund the library system by what proponents say is a modest tax increase.
Those in favor say it’s a small price to pay for such an important part of the city’s quality of life.
After gathering them up this morning, City Council President Darlene Harris announced that there are enough signatures to put the Our Library, Our Future initiative on the ballot.
Organizers only needed about 2,800 signatures, but they got 10,739.
The ballot question will ask city tax payers to foot the bill to save the underfunded but widely used public library system.
“What we’re talking about 0.25 mills – that’s less than a one percent increase in property tax if you live in the city of Pittsburgh,” said Pittsburgh City Councilman Patrick Dowd.
That works out to about $25 a year per $100,000 assessed property value.
“It will be a tough challenge – it has the word tax in it, so It will be a challenge,” said Dave Malehorn, of the Our Library, Our Future initiative.
But failure to fund the measure, for proponents would be intellectually catastrophic.
“I think one of the saddest pictures in the city, among others, would be going to the Homewood branch on a Friday afternoon and seeing that branch is closed – kids are home for the weekend from school or it’s summertime and it’s hot and they don’t have access to that branch or other places in the community,” said Dowd.
The measure once through Council will be off to the Board of Elections to approve the question form and then it’s up to the voters of Pittsburgh come November 2011.