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Face The Facts, Jamestown Is Not Growing

The James Prendergast Library is trying again to institute a 259-vote to place a library tax on registered voters in the Jamestown Public Schools District.

The vote will take place June 9 via absentee ballots along as part of the countywide school budget vote and school board elections.

As they did four years ago, this tax should be rejected by taxpayers. That should not be taken as a reflection on the needs the library faces nor the priority literacy should take in our community. This is simply the wrong time to approach school district voters with any increase in taxes.

The Jamestown Public Schools District has undertaken $3 million of cuts that include ending district participation in P-Tech classes that benefit 19 city students, closing the Success Academy, not filling dozens of positions and cutting field trips that many children look forward to each year. The district rightly realizes that it simply isn’t right to ask for more money from taxpayers — both homeowners and businesses – at a time when 13.5% of the county’s jobs have vanished into thin air. Businesses are making cutbacks to keep their doors open. More people are on unemployment lines or going to food pantries to put food on the table.

Think of that when supporters say that they’re only asking for 23 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation. Some people can afford that. Others simply cannot — and it’s unfair to ask businesses that are laying people off and restructuring their operations to pay more to support the library.

Let’s face the facts, Jamestown is not growing. We are shrinking. Things that used to occupy huge buildings are looking to downsize into smaller spaces. Businesses that were here and contributed to the tax base are no longer here. Jamestown needs to change. And while the mission of the Prendergast Library is certainly worth supporting, paying an additional tax is something that most Jamestown taxpayers can’t support right now.

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