On Aug. 3, many Payson Friends of the Library attended an open meeting of the Board of Supervisors in Globe. This three-hour meeting was devoted almost entirely to the proposal to reduce funding for libraries due to a reduction in total tax revenues.
The Payson Roundup printed a chart showing total tax revenues increasing from $9,382,572 for FY 93 to $10,891,056 for FY00. The same chart also shows a total increase of $363,174 from FY99 to FY00. The reduction in funds from mines and utilities have been more than fully replaced by homeowners and small business. These same private citizens, who are responsible for this increase in tax revenues, expect our county's libraries to be funded and operating.
As a property owner, I am billed and pay 2.24 percent of my total property taxes to the Gila County Library District. These are designated funds and should only be used for library support. The total tax receipts received from this Library District tax was never discussed at this meeting. On the contrary, Ron Christensen, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, went to great lengths to explain the vast amounts "given" by the county supervisors as if the funds came from the general fund. Mr. Christensen requested suggestions for solutions and other alternatives, but refused to allow some of those requesting to speak, to do so.
The recommended solution is, return all of the revenue raised by the Gila County Library District tax to the libraries. In the absence of a formula for distribution, or until one is established, allow our trusted librarians, who can and do work well together, to distribute the funds based upon the number of people served by the respective libraries.