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The difference a few weeks can make

08/26/2014 09:06PM ● Published by Lev

In the Aug. 13 edition of the Chester County Press, the New Garden Township Board of Supervisors was roundly criticized for not initiating a dedicated library tax which would go to support the Bayard Taylor Memorial Library.

Of the eight municipalities the library serves in southern Chester County, only two – Kennett Township and East Marlborough – have a dedicated library tax. The remaining five municipalities – Kennett Square Borough and Newlin, Pennsbury, Pocopson and West Marlborough townships – do not have a dedicated library tax, but fund the library close to the library's fair share calculations, based on based on population, number of cardholders, volume of circulation and assessed property value.

In sharp contrast, New Garden Township makes up 28 percent of the population of the eight municipality areas that are served by the library, comprise just less than one fifth of its cardholders, and yet has annually fallen woefully short of what the library estimates that the township should contribute.

Whether or not the column of Aug. 13 had any impact on the board in its future funding of the Bayard Taylor Memorial Library is uncertain, but their actions at their Aug. 18 meeting are a clear indication that this once wayward ship has begun to right its course. The board voted 5-0 to approve the inclusion of a referendum on upcoming voting forms, asking township residents if they would be in favor of establishing an annual dedicated library tax for the Bayard Taylor Memorial Library, beginning in 2015.

Using easy math, the tax would ask township residents if they would pay a dedicated tax of $37 a year per household, which would be funneled directly to the library. A straw poll of those in attendance at the Aug. 18 meeting overwhelmingly approved the idea, and although show-of-hands polls of this kind are speculative in nature, we now have a sense of which way the wind may blow in the township.

Its supervisors finally took the initiative to correct a mistake, and this November, in voting booths all over New Garden Township, it will be up to its residents to capitalize on it. 

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