Hiawatha Library Future up for Vote Next Month

HIAWATHA, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Voters in Hiawatha will get a say next month on a bond to help pay for a proposed $4.1-million dollar library expansion. And the city is already assuming the November 7th vote by residents will be “yes.”

An artist's illustration of the Hiawatha Library expansion.

The bond vote on the ballot, for $1.2-million dollars, requires the usual 60 percent supermajority to pass. But Hiawatha city leaders already included the amount in the capital projects budget for the coming year.

So if voters pass the bond it won’t mean any new taxes because the amount is already reflected in the upcoming budget.

So far, supporters have raised $730,000 in private donations to add 13,500 more square feet to the library building. The goal, for donations, is $2-million dollars.

Library director Jeaneal Weeks, says giving right now is in kind of a holding pattern with donors waiting to see what happens with the bond vote.

She says a “yes” decision by voters would open the gates and bring in gifts a lot quicker.

“We have some donors who are watching the election and watching for those results, we know that. We also have donors who have given to us with the proviso if the referendum fails, and it doesn’t go through, we would rethink how we’re doing things,” Weels said.

In addition to the $1.2-million dollar bond on the ballot, the city of Hiawatha is also pledging $1-million dollars in local option tax dollars for the library project.

That money does not require voter approval.

Hiawatha Library leaders have made the point that the current 20-year-old library has one of the highest, per capita, circulation rates in the state. As many as 500 people a day are passing through the library doors.

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