Libraries to apply for 1-cent tax

Oconee library leaders will submit their official request to be among the recipients of the proposed one-cent local sales tax. Once the final numbers are adjusted, they plan to turn in their application this afternoon—in advance of next week’s deadline, as set by the county Capital Project Sales Tax Commission. In a vote yesterday, the county library trustees formally approved an application to seek in excess of $15 million for three new libraries and renovations and expansions at two others. The vote was taken during a meeting at 45-year old Seneca library which, according to the trustees plan, will be replaced by a new library on the grounds of the current one. Other new libraries are to be built in Salem and in southern Oconee. Westminster and Walhalla libraries are in line for renovations or expansions. The vote was unanimous, although Holly McPheeters abstained to avoid a conflict. McPheeters’ husband, Glen, serves on the sales tax commission, whose responsibility is to review all capital project requests. A library trustee from Seneca, Becky Hetherington, capped yesterday afternoon’s meeting by saying that the “most damning statement is that Oconee County has not invested in its libraries in 29 years. That’s unbelievable,” she said. In a discussion led by Chairman Danny Day, the trustees talked about the importance of selling the voting public on the worthiness of their request.