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McHenry Public Library keeps levy flat

Published: Friday, Oct. 18, 2013 11:52 p.m. CDT

McHENRY – For the second year in a row, the McHenry Public Library Board of Trustees voted to hold the line on its levy.

That means the library will collect $3.3 million in taxes, about the same amount as it did last year and the year before.

“The board really feels they want to keep costs down, realizing that it may not appear that way on your tax bill because there are other entities asking for more,” said Jim Scholtz, the library’s executive director. “They think we should do our duty. We try to save where we can.”

Under the state’s tax cap, the library could have collected an additional $144,000, Scholtz said.

To make sure the library is prepared for the few unknowns in its future, the board wants to save about $500,000 in fiscal 2013-14.

“The big unknown is the health insurance,” Scholtz said. “We still don’t know what we’re going to do – as don’t most entities.”

Historically, the library has provided health insurance for its employees and would like to continue doing so, but as an entity with under 50 employees, it will have the option to eliminate the program if premiums become unmanageable, he said.

Several recent library projects have come in under estimates, including an unexpected repair of the sanitary sewer line. The repeatedly clogging pipe travels north 360 feet, crossing two public roads and two private properties before hooking up to the library, 809 N. Front St. 

If the repair required digging up those roads, the project could have cost the library $190,000, but because that ended up not being necessary, the pipe was relined and repaired for $38,000, Scholtz said.

An elevator replacement and 26 new security cameras also came in under budget.

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