Prop L wants to increase property tax in effort to benefit libraries

RIVERSIDE, Mo. -- A major tax issue on the November ballot will ask voters to approve a property tax increase to pay for improvements to a local library system.

It’s been 33-years since the Mid Continent Library has asked for more money. In that time, buildings have aged and costs have gone up. So now they are hoping voters will give them more money to help them improve and stay relevant.

The issue is called Prop L, and it would raise property taxes by eight-cents for every $100 of assessed value. For example, if your house is worth $150,000, you would pay an extra $23 a year.

The proposition would give the library around $10-million more per year, and that money would go a long ways toward improving the largest library system in the metro.

"We have done our very, very best to make sure this is more about needs than it is about wants," Library director Steve Potter said. "But more importantly, in terms of impact for the average household in our library district. It will cost less than the price of one book."

Library officials plan to use the money to renovate 28 buildings, replace or build six new buildings, expand hours,  services to the public, such as story time, and buy more books, movies and other materials.

The Mid Continent Library System serves more than 50-percent of the metro population and in the next 15 years, more than one million residents of Jackson, Clay and Platte counties are expected to visit the library.

Voter will decide on the issue on November 8.

If it doesn’t pass, library officials say they’ll stay open for business, but they just won’t be able to expand and improve as much as they want.

The Mid Continent Library System has posted renderings of the renovations planned for 28 library buildings .