Puebl, Colo. - - Libraries in Pueblo could be on the chopping block if voters don’t choose keep an existing mill levy this November.
The Pueblo City-County Library District is asking for a continuation on a mill levy that’s funded libraries in the area for twenty years.
However, if voters turn it down Pueblo could potentially see up to two of the seven libraries close their doors.
Here's how a mill levy works: If you own a home worth $100,000 you would pay $4.30 cents annually in property taxes. Commercial property owners pay nearly 4 times more.
“If this tax is allowed to expire, the library, its operations, the programming, and facilities themselves are not sustainable,” said John Walker, the Executive Director of the Pueblo-Pueblo County Library District.
That could lead to big changes to a library system that served 1.8 million people in 2018. Hours could be reduced at multiple branches or even permanently close some locations.
“We are not asking people to give additional money, we are just asking to keep what people are already giving,” said Stephanie Garcia, Library Board Trustee's Vice President. “If you go into any of our branches they are important pieces of this community and would want to keep those doors open.”
“You go to any of our libraries -- they are jam packed,” said Pueblo City Council Member Ray Aguilera.
Aguilera and the rest of Pueblo City Council unanimously approved the proposed referendum to continue the mill levy Monday night.
“All the computers, all the chairs, everything is full," said Aguilera. "Not just at Rawlings Library, but at all the other libraries as well.”
Last year the Pueblo City-County Library District was voted America’s best public library, thanks in large part to the people in Pueblo. However, getting votes in November remains to be seen.