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East Ventura Focus

OAK PARK : Panel Opposes Tax to Finance New Library

May 27, 1993|DOUG McCLELLAN

Despite their months-long quest to build a new library in Oak Park, members of the Oak Park Municipal Advisory Council have opposed creating a special taxing authority to help pay for it.

At a meeting Tuesday, members unanimously rejected a request from Ventura County Library Administrator Dixie Adeniran that they support legislation that would allow counties to set up special library districts with taxing authority.

"The only good tax is a dead tax," council member Ron Stark said. "I could never support this no matter how much I want to see a library in Oak Park."

Adeniran said the legislation, Senate Bill 566, is scheduled for a hearing before the Senate today.

The eastern Ventura County community is laying plans for construction of a library while the county library system is slashing staff and hours to accommodate steep budget cuts.

Oak Park has the money to build a library through development fees accumulating in a special fund, and groundbreaking could occur before the end of 1994. The library would be jointly funded and run by the county and the Oak Park Unified School District, which operate a small branch library on the campus of Oak Park High School.

But Adeniran said pending cutbacks make the future of library operations uncertain.

She said she is expecting next year's library budget to be cut by 25% to 50% compared with this year's budget, which was cut by about 12% from the year before.

"It is just a devastating loss in terms of service to the public," said Adeniran, whose agency runs 16 branches throughout the county. Medium-sized branches such as Oak Park may have their hours reduced to 16 hours a week from 29, she said.

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