By Ross Guidotti

GREENSBURG (KDKA) — Voters in six municipalities in Westmoreland County will be asked this November to approve a property tax hike to fund the Greensburg Hempfield Area Library.

If it fails, the library could fold.

Children’s author Daniel Handler once said, “A library is like an island in the midst of a vast sea of ignorance.”

If that’s the case, the island known as the Greensburg Hempfield Area Library is sinking under its own operating costs and needs help.

“This library is definitely worth paying for, any library is worth paying for and keeping,” said Kaitlyn Howser, a library patron.

To make that happen, the board is looking to a ballot referendum in November to increase property taxes 1 mill, roughly $20 to $30 more a year, to help keep the stacks accessible.

The plan – get approval for separate referendums in front of the voters in Greensburg, New Stanton, Youngwood, South Greensburg and South West Greensburg.

Right now, the library gets about $284,000 a year from the state to operate. The other $500,000 comes from private donations and fund drives.

Money that’s lacking, the 1 mill library life line tax would pay for operations and would even mean potential expansion.

“Overall, it’s a great place and it’s worth keeping around,” said Howser.

But others have different opinions.

“You don’t need it,” said Thomas Fury, of Hempfield Township. “Who goes up there? The generation today doesn’t go up there. They don’t even go to church.”

If, by chance, some communities decide to not put the proposal on the November ballot, the library will have to organize volunteers to get signatures to have it forced as a ballot referendum.

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