Members of the council explain the Salt Lake County library tax

Dec 8, 2022, 2:00 PM

county library...

An 8-year-old walks out with a new jacket given by Operation Warm at the Salt Lake County Library. Photo: Ben B. Braun, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake County Council is approving a budget that includes a property tax increase for the Salt Lake County library system. 

The Salt Lake County Library is funded through property taxes paid by Salt Lake County residents. Over 60% of people have library cards according to Salt Lake County government. 

With access to books online as well as large chain stores like Barnes and Noble and new taxes, the value of the library is in question for some. 

Salt Lake County Council representative Aimee Winder Newton told KSL NewsRadio that the library budget is a separate line-item on a property tax statement.

“We can’t use any county-wide funds on our library,” said Newton. “It wouldn’t be fair to Murray and Salt Lake City residents … so it can only be funded by a property tax.” 

An average-sized home in the county can expect an annual tax increase of $30.

Library impact 

Whether you go to the library, or not, in some way, Newton said it does impact you. Especially if you have children in your life.

For instance, kids use the library as a “hang-out spot,” particularly kids who don’t have a safe or happy place to go after school.

Additionally, many kids use the library as an internet source to apply for jobs and do their homework.

Using the library as a “tool” allows kids to stay out of trouble, she said.  And this can create a rippling effect. 

“We value education and literacy that helps decrease criminal activity or poverty later on,” she said, noting that kids who get in trouble later in life also cost tax payers. 

More county services to come

What if you could go to the library for other services like passports, marriage licenses, or paying your taxes? 

Newton said through this tax they will be researching the possibilities of offering these services. 

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Members of the council explain the Salt Lake County library tax