Library budget hike draws 'no' vote

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When the Oak Park Public Library voted to approve its 2006 budget Oct. 18, which would increase the library's share of property taxes by at least 7.2 percent, one trustee voted against the measure.

"I had to stay committed with my platform, which was, 'Read my lips, we won't raise taxes,'" said Mila Tellez, who was elected to the board in April.

"I hate to differ with my colleagues," Tellez said, noting that she couldn't approve of a 10 percent tax hike (including the 3 percent the Cook County Tax Assessor's Office automatically adds to all property tax levies for "loss and cost").

Costs driving the budget up next year include remaining open on Sundays year-round, removal of rental fees for movies, anticipated heating gas price increases, and increasing medical insurance rates, according to a library statement.

The library's 2006 budget is just less than $8 million.

Tellez would rather have seen revenue increases, citing 9 percent of the library's budget coming from sources other than property taxes.

"I believe we could have raised that substantially to generate revenue," she said. Those sources include user fees, grants, and fees for groups using the library's building for events.

Tellez said she had hoped the library would follow the village board in proposing a 0-percent increase.

?#34;Drew Carter

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