Nobleboro voters will consider a significant increase in their town’s support of Skidompha Library when they go to town meeting Saturday.
The library is asking for $21,489, a number it bases on a percentage of the town’s tax revenue last year. It is asking for the same percentage of Damariscotta and Newcastle’s tax revenue.
The Nobleboro Board of Selectmen and the Nobleboro Budget Committee have recommended $13,000 instead.
It is the only place on the warrant for town meeting where these bodies recommend a figure lower than the request.
To be sure, Skidompha has a big ask this year: to more than double the town’s support of the library, which was $10,000 last year.
But voters should consider a few other facts:
Fact one: The library estimates the tax hike as a result of its higher request at $3.62 for someone who owns a $100,000 property. For context, we spent $5.39 on coffee and a breakfast sandwich this morning.
Fact two: Nobleboro residents receive free library memberships. Those of us who live outside Damariscotta, Newcastle, and Nobleboro pay $40 per year – well above the typical Nobleboro taxpayer’s total contribution to the library. (By the way, we pay this fee gladly, because the library provides much more than $40 in services.)
Fact three: The request from Skidompha is its first for an increase since 2012, seven years ago. How many other items in the town budget have stayed flat this long?
We could go on about the library – how book-lending makes up only a fraction of the library’s modern mission, how the library has 1,050 active patrons from Nobleboro – more than half the town’s population.
We get it. Every town has to balance many worthy expenditures against the ability and desire of its tax base to fund those initiatives.
We only hope Nobleboro voters – and Damariscotta and Newcastle voters when their time comes – will consider all the facts and context for the library’s request when they act on this article.