Residents in Banks Township and Beaver Meadows will have a choice to make during the upcoming general primary election.
During the Carbon County Election Board meeting on Thursday, the board voted to approve a referendum, which asks residents of those two municipalities if they would be willing to increase their township tax real estate millage by .6 mills to help cover the budget of the Hazleton Area Public Library.
Commissioner William O'Gurek explained that the reason for the referendum and ballot question is because of state funding cuts to the school, which is forcing the Hazleton Area School District to cut funding to the library.
The referendum question asks if residents are in favor of "supporting the Hazleton Area Public Library by eliminating the current funding allocation system and establishing a real estate tax levied by the Hazleton Area School District establishing an annual assessment of .1879 mills in Luzerne County; .6381 mills in Schuylkill County; and .6092 mills in Carbon County on taxable real estate located within the Hazleton Area School District?"
According to the plain English statement of the referendum, "The money raised will be under exclusive control of the board of library directors and shall not be commingled into the general fund of the Hazleton Area School District. This referendum has been introduced in direct response to the recent public libraries funding cuts as introduced by the Hazleton Area School District which are in response to its funding cuts from the state. The intent of the assessment is to insure that the Hazleton Area Public Library will be consistently and adequately funded to continue services at its current level at a minimum"
O'Gurek said that it's nominal in terms of money because a person who owns a $100,000 house, assessed at $50,000 would face an increase of $30.46 in their real estate taxes; while a person with a $40,000 house, assessed at $20,000 would see a $12 increase in taxes.
In other election board matters, the board approved the following location change for polling places.
ŸDistrict 61, Weatherly West, will now be located at the Dietrich-Luhman American Legion Post 360, 360 Veterans Lane, Weatherly. This replaces the former location at Tweedle Park.