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Local

DeKalb Public Library Board will give state funds back to taxpayers

Patrons walk up to the DeKalb Public Library on Jan. 18. The DeKalb Public Library board reached consensus Wednesday that the nearly $3.5 million it got from the state should be remitted to the taxpayers who bore the brunt of a loan to help finish construction of its new building.
Patrons walk up to the DeKalb Public Library on Jan. 18. The DeKalb Public Library board reached consensus Wednesday that the nearly $3.5 million it got from the state should be remitted to the taxpayers who bore the brunt of a loan to help finish construction of its new building.

DeKALB – The DeKalb Public Library board reached consensus Wednesday that once it receives the $4.6 million it’s owed by the state, it will remit money not needed to pay off the rest of a $4.5 million loan to finish construction of the new library to taxpayers.

In 2015, the library’s levy was raised $500,000 to almost $2.3 million to allow $4.5 million to be borrowed to finish construction. Library officials said the money would be remitted once the state paid the full amount. Executive Director Emily Faulkner outlined four remittance scenarios, now that most of the money has come in. The state still owes another $1.1 million.

The first option: Maintain the levy and not remit funds. Board member Bill Cummings said that although he was not advocating for that scenario, not remitting the funds would get the library out of debt sooner, which has its advantages. However, he added that the refund should be made in good faith.

The second and third options, which were favored by the board, would maintain the levy and remit funds with and without fees and interest. There was some confusion whether it was promised in 2015 that fees and interest would be included in the remitted amount, so Faulkner said she would check City Council minutes to see what was agreed upon.

The final option, which also was met unfavorably, was to remit the funds and lower the levy.

Depending on whether the fees and interest will be included in an approved scenario, a homeowner with a $150,000 home could see an $86 to $91 rebate on their tax bill, Faulkner said. The board will not take action until it receives the last $1.1 million from the state.

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