A Long History of Careful Stewardship
Prior to 2008, Wright Library received 80% of its annual revenue from Ohio’s Public Library Fund, with additional local tax support from a 0.94-mill Oakwood property tax levy. Unfortunately, in 2008, Ohio libraries were hit with large decreases in state funding caused by the recession, and Wright Library suffered a significant decline in state revenue that has never been restored. In 2009, Oakwood voters passed a small 0.5-mill levy that helped but did not fully offset the state funding loss. In 2012, voters combined these two small levies, and the combined 1.5 mill levy was renewed in 2017. This levy generates approximately $380,000 per year.
To mitigate the impact of funding loss, the library implemented cost-saving measures, deferred facility maintenance, reduced staffing, and sought private donations.
Even so, expenditures were expected to exceed revenues in 2020 due to a decade of reduced state funding and rising costs of materials, wages, healthcare, technology and building maintenance. Without additional levy funds, deficit spending and essential building repairs and maintenance would have depleted the library’s capital reserves by 2024.
In March of 2020, voters approved a 1.5 mill levy, which eliminated an estimated funding gap of $4.8 million over the next 10 years. The additional funds, approximately $475,000 per year, will allow Wright Library to repair and update the facility and continue offering quality materials, services, staff, and programs.
The project is a public/private partnership of state and local tax funds, the library’s capital reserves, and private gifts raised from the community.
The Wright Memorial Public Library Foundation announced David M. Flory’s $500,000 gift in October. Flory’s gift is the first major donation to a $1.5 million private capital campaign for the building project. Those interested in giving to the capital campaign should contact Library Director Kristi Hale at (937) 294-7171 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Capital campaign donations are tax-deductible gifts made through the Wright Memorial Public Library Foundation, a fund of The Dayton Foundation.