Latest survey shows support for library branch project
FRANKLIN, IN -- Another public opinion poll of registered voters shows continued support for a new library branch in Franklin.
The survey, conducted by Indiana University's Institute for Research on Social Issues, concluded:
"The majority of registered voters in Johnson County favor the idea of building improvements for the Franklin Branch."
When asked if they would be willing to support additional property taxes for the project, 88.5 percent of the respondents said they would be willing to pay something more -- with 66.2 percent saying they would be willing to spend up to $40 in additional property taxes per year on the Franklin Branch.
The survey said 5.1 percent would not support a referendum to increase property taxes for the project.
The average assessed market value of a home in Johnson County is $148,595, according to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Board of Realtors. Financial consultant Umbaugh and Associates of Indianapolis reported recently that a home valued at $150,000 would conservatively pay between $7.26 a year for a $10 million bond up to $35.86 a year for a $30 million bond for the library project.
The Johnson County Public Library Board has not yet determined cost or location.
The institute conducted the poll of registered voters who live in the Johnson County Public Library district the week of April 25, 2011. Results were released to the JCPL Board of Trustees and the public today.
Like one conducted last November, the new poll asked opinions about support, willingness to pay more property taxes and possible locations for the new branch. The poll of 300 registered voter respondents was statistically relevant to average voter turnout in the district during the past four elections.
The library board approved the poll to measure again support for a proposed new branch in Franklin. The current facility, built in 1987, has been deemed too small for the city's growing population and outdated for the resources and programs now offered by the library system. Studies have recommended building a new branch rather than expanding the current building at 401 State Street.
If the proposed project exceeds $12 million in costs, voters in the library district would have to approve constructing a new branch by referendum.
The poll also included feedback on customer service and patron usage of all four JCPL branches.
This information will be used by the architect firm Fanning-Howey and the library board when considering specifics for the proposed project.
When asked where the new library should be constructed, respondents generally favored a U.S. 31 North location rather than the downtown. However, when IU removed respondents from the White River Township precincts, support for the north side versus downtown was statistically even.
Though noting the strong support, the research institute also said voters have concerns about passage of a referendum.
Key findings in the survey included:
- 63.5 percent said they either strongly favor or somewhat favor the project.
- 23.8 percent strongly favor the project.
- 27.6 percent said they somewhat oppose or strongly oppose the project.
- 47.2 percent said the most favorable location for a new branch would be on U.S. 31 North, while 33.4 percent want it in the downtown area.
- However, when White River precincts are taken out of equation, 47 percent prefer the U.S. 31 North location while 44 percent want a Downtown Franklin location.
- 79.2 percent said that location would not affect their support for the project.
- 49.2 percent believe that registered voters are more unlikely than likely to support a referendum for the library system, primarily due to the opposition of tax increases.
- 43.9 percent believe registered voters are likely or somewhat likely to support the referendum and 6.8 percent are undecided.
- 95 percent said they are either very satisfied or satisfied with JCPL.
The survey report, including all data, and the public presentation to the library board are available on the project's website: www.myfranklinlibrary.com.