Library renewal fee fails; renewal of transit passes | News, Sports, Jobs

PARKERSBURG — Although there was a majority, the Wood County Library renewal tax failed with 56 percent of the unofficial vote in Tuesday’s primary election in Wood County.

It took 60% plus one to pass.

Brian Raitz, director of the Parkersburg and Wood County Public Library, said it would be up to the library board to decide whether or not he would be on the ballot again this fall.

“There was a clear majority, but not enough to pass the levy, which represents 30% of our funding”, he said.

The unofficial vote was 8,284 for and 6,404 against the levy.

As this was a renewal fee, the library system is funded until June 2023, so it should pass this fall to remain funded for the next five years.

Raitz said he apologized to voters because the wording of the levy on the ballot was misleading. He said he would have written it a little clearer.

“I would have done it as a renewal, but it came across as an additional levy,” he said. “It wasn’t clearly marked.”

He said if the library board decided to put it back on the ballot, the wording would be corrected.

In addition to helping fund the library for the next five years, he would have funded the building of a library in Williamstown and repaid loans for facilities on South Parkersburg and Emerson Avenue.

If the levy doesn’t pass this fall, Raitz said tough decisions would have to be made.

“We should consider reducing hours and services,” he said. “Maybe close branches. This is the reality when you consider cutting your budget by 30%. »

Also in Tuesday’s ballot, renewal levies for continuous transit service were broadly passed, providing for the continued operation of the Easy Rider bus system for fiscal years beginning July 1, 2023 and July 1, 2024. in Parkersburg and Vienna.

Mike Kesterson, general manager of the Mid-Ohio Valley Transit Authority, said he was “tickled to death” that the levies have passed.

“We are really happy and grateful for the support from Parkersburg and Vienna so that we can do what we are doing,” Kesterson said.

He said the transit authority is good for another two years. Funding will be used for operating expenses.

In Parkersburg, the unofficial vote was 3,222 for and 929 against the levy. Vienna residents voted 2,036 for and 420 against the levy.

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Melvin Z. Madore