It appears the Stark County District Library will receive millions of dollars in additional property tax revenue to improve facilities and increase services.
Voters in Stark County, as of 10 p.m. Tuesday, were approving the library's attempt at securing additional funding — a second try after an attempt failed at the polls last year.
With 58% of precincts reporting, about 54% of local voters had said yes to the 2-mill, eight-year levy, unofficial and incomplete election results showed.
All issues on Tuesday were expected to be decided by an estimated 15 percent of voters, which is typical for a primary election without any state or national races on the ballot, historical election data show. That amounts to about 37,000 people out of the county's 247,511 registered voters.
While the library issue appeared on ballots for voters in more than half of the school districts in the county, the only question everyone in the county could vote on Tuesday was the Stark County Mental Health and Addiction Recovery 1-mill, 10-year renewal levy. It also appeared to be passing, with 67% of voters in favor of the renewal, unofficial election results showed as of 10 p.m.
Tuesday's primary election was the library's second try to increase its property tax millage. Last fall, voters rejected a similar eight-year, 2.2-mill levy request.
This time, the Stark County District Library asked voters for an eight-year, 2-mill property tax that would generate an additional $3.2 million annually. The money is expected to provide extra services and materials and to maintain and upgrade buildings, though no specific plans have been spelled out publicly.
The increase amounts to an extra $26.50 a year for the owners of a $100,000 home.
The library's current 1.7-mill levy, which provides about half of its operation budget, expires at the end of the year. State library data, last updated in 2018, shows the Stark County District Library in 2017 received nearly $7 million from the Public Library Fund and collected nearly $6.9 million in property tax.
As of 10 p.m. Tuesday, the levy issue was ahead by more than 1,000 votes.
"We're very encouraged by the results right now and just hoping for the best when the next precincts come in," said Stephanie Cargill, communications director for the library.
If the levy passed, she said, the library's administration would move forward with plans for building renovations and updates.
At the polls in Stark County on Tuesday, some voters said they didn't think the library needed extra money because people rely on the internet, while other voters said they rejected the request because of the added expense.
"The taxes are just getting higher and higher," said Jacqui Imhoff of Lake Township.
But other voters said they use the library frequently.
"Definitely voted for that," said Terry Stauffer of Plain Township. "They have so many services for us."
The library district follows school district boundaries, so some voters in Portage, Carroll and Summit counties also had the option of weighing in on the levy.
Also Tuesday, voters overwhelmingly renewed StarkMHAR's request for another 10 years of funding. With more than 21,000 ballots counted in that race, 67% of voters favored the renewal.
The money will pay for alcohol, drug addiction and mental health programs, services and facilities.
Some people voting across the county Tuesday said they turned out specifically to support that issue.
Audrey Hardy, of Canton, said she was in favor of both levies on her ballot, especially the mental health levy.
"I strongly believe we need more help with that," she said.