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Kern County supervisors approve putting library tax on ballot

KBAK/KBFX file photo
KBAK/KBFX file photo
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Kern County supervisors decided Tuesday to put a library tax before voters.

The eighth-cent tax on all retail sales within Kern County would bring $15 million to Kern County's 24 libraries, about double their current budget, according to Advocates for Liberty Enhancement.

With a 3-2 approval from supervisors, voters in June will have their say on the tax.

Supervisor Mike Maggard said the potential tax is the most "expedient" way to help libraries.

Mandy Walters is a co-founder of Advocates for Library Enhancement. She said with the strapped economy, Kern Counties residents need public libraries more now than ever.

"When you can't afford your Internet access and it takes Internet access to get that new job, where do you go? You go to the public library. When you need to rework your resume, where do you go? You ask a librarian," she said.

Rachel Glauser represented Better Libraries for Kern County at Tuesday's meeting, advocating for a public-privatized partnership option for libraries. Glauser said she was disappointed with the decision to vote on a sales tax increase.

"We think it's a great option to be looking at alternatives to modernize our libraries," Glauser said.

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Supervisor Mick Gleason, who opposed the tax, said he's also committed to fixing the libraries with "out-of-box" thinking.

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