Salt Lake City Public Library administrators are asking for a property tax increase in their 2018 budget proposal. It would be the system’s first property tax hike in 13 years.
Salt Lake City bonded to build the newest library branches in the Glendale and Marmalade District neighborhoods. Daily operations at those branches have since been funded with savings. But this year, Peter Bromberg, Executive Director of the Salt Lake City Public Library is asking for a new ongoing revenue source.
“The last time the Library came to the city and asked for an increase for operational funding was in 2004,” Bromberg says. “That was the year after this building had opened. It’s been a long time. We’ve been able to continue operations, continue growing, evolving, adding two new facilities for the community without having to come back and ask for any additional operating funds.”
The tax increase would amount to an additional $20 annually on a home worth roughly $250,000.
Bromberg also proposes setting aside $1.5 million for a savings account dedicated to long-term big-ticket repairs on existing libraries.
“Beyond the two new buildings, we obviously have six others including our flagship branch downtown. We have our Chapman Library which is going to turn 100 next year. We have our Sprague Library which is 89 years old,” Bromberg says. “If an HVAC goes in this building that could be a million-dollar repair. So if we’re not saving responsibility, we’re going to be in trouble.”
The Salt Lake City Council will vote on the budget in June. If the council approves the hike, there would be a truth-in-taxation hearing in August.