CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Members of the Kanawha County Commission said they would support putting an excess levy on the ballot to help bail out the county library system, but don't know what chance the measure might have of passing.
"Levies are awful tough these days," commission President Kent Carper said at a regular meeting Thursday.
The Kanawha County Board of Education is no longer required by law to provide the county's public library with about $3 million, or roughly 40 percent of the library's budget. Last month, the state Supreme Court ruled that the state school board could not compel county schools systems to support county libraries. Library officials have said the cuts will be devastating if they can't find a way to replace the funding.
Kanawha County Public Library Director Alan Engelbert and library board President Mike Albert came to the County Commission meeting Thursday to talk about the library's plight. Albert said they wouldn't ask the commission for any more money, but wanted to thank county officials for money they already supply to the library system.
The commission also provides about $3 million a year to the library system.
Still, Carper and Commissioners Dave Hardy and Hoppy Shores said they would help the library in any way they could, including putting a library excess levy on the ballot.
"We're not going to turn a deaf ear to you," Carper said. "I just hope the school board decides to do the right thing [and restore funding to the library]."
Albert said he was meeting with Kanawha Superintendent Ron Duerring today to try and talk school officials out of cutting funding for the library.
Hardy asked about the future of the county's branch libraries, the bookmobile and a plan to build a new library facility in light of budget cuts.