By: Madison Fugate
On behalf of the Powell County Public Library, chairman, Michael Frazier, and PCPL board of trustees member, Amy Stamper, were present at the most recent Powell County Fiscal Court meeting to present their tax rate for the 2021-22 fiscal year. During the pandemic and a time of economic crisis, the Powell County Public Library joined other county entities as a unit of the Powell County Fiscal Court. Frazier did update the court that as of this year, PCPL did raise their taxes from 5 cents to every $100 to 5.2 cents to every $100. “That is a four percent increase of compensation fee,” Frazier informed the court, “so that we can expand our programs and also expand our services- and also, look forward to the future of the new public library.”
“We didn’t do this lightly and we didn’t do this without engaging the public,” Frazier insisted. He informed the court that there was a community-wide survey that was shared through social media. Said survey revealed that the community would be more eager to see the PCPL focusing more on youth services as this was a popular recommendation from the public. Both Frazier and Stamper claim that the programs at the library have grown exponentially just within the most recent ten years. Frazier also reported that he had just received confirmation that Powell County Public Library was the only library that stayed open throughout the pandemic, “Now our building may have been physically shut, but we were still working. We were still providing services,” later adding, “I think that sparks the spirit of Powell County Public Library and the services that we offer to the community.”
Stamper added to Frazier’s ideas and statements, “We want to be able to provide more for the county- more programming, more room. We want to make the new library the best that we can make it.” Frazier did update the court that the board of trustees had filed for grants and a state bond in an effort to “look at every possible way to offset the cost away from the tax-payer as much as possible.” This aforementioned tax increase was said to be an “immediate need” for programming services and more use of the public library. Frazier reported that that after thorough monitoring, 142 people on average were counted coming through the doors of the PCPL building daily to utilize services.
With the tax changes as a result of the passing of the special entity bill and PCPL now becoming a part of the fiscal court, presenting tax rates to the fiscal court is different than in years before. The fiscal court now has the authority to alter these decisions at their discretion. The PCPL now comes before the fiscal court to ask them to take one of three actions, according to Frazier: to approve it, reject it (go back to the previous tax rate), or take no action. “As trustees, we made the decision, so we would ask that the court take no action,” Frazier stated to the fiscal court- which is historically how it has been in years past.
No action by the Powell County Fiscal Court would in essence honor what they have presented. This decision will go in affect this upcoming tax year. Frazier did add before concluding the presentation that motor vehicle tax rates were not changed, “That’s the tax that effects most families and impacts them greater- so we did keep that the same.” Ultimately, no action was taken by the Powell County Fiscal Court after the presentation made by Frazier and Stamper on behalf of the Powell County Public Library.