The city of Edgerton can’t bow out of paying taxes to the Johnson County Library system.
Last year, Edgerton citizens paid more than $72,000 in library taxes, but the city doesn’t have an option of retaining those taxes and running its own library system.
Property owners in Olathe don’t pay a 3.145 mill levy to the county for mill levy services. Instead, they pay a 2.5 mill levy for a city-run library system.
Emily Baker, director of the Olathe Public Library, said Olathe created its own library in 1909 decades before a county library initiative created the Johnson County Library.
“Olathe has always had its own library,” Baker said. “We’re over 100 years old.”
Baker said the Olathe library has a history of working closely with the county library system so service between the two entities is relatively seamless. The two systems share a book catalogue, make purchases together and operate off of the same contracts with Olathe paying into the contracts.
Johnson County voters approved a library in the early 1950s. Under state statute, there is no way for Edgerton, or any other community within the library system to keep their tax dollars to create their own library.
“There really isn’t any provision for removing a city from that,” Jim Minges, director of the Northeast Kansas Library System. “…Once the county library is created, parts of the county can’t just remove themselves from it.”