HATBORO — The preliminary victory for a proposed library tax in the borough will now stand after a recount of votes cast on a ballot question in the May 21 primaries.
Voters were asked to consider a referendum establishing a dedicated library tax of .55 mills on all taxable real estate in the borough to support the Union Library on South York Road.
Initial results of that referendum on May 21 showed 512 supporting the tax and 498 opposing it — a victory of just 14 points. Officials said, however, that a problem associated with new voting machines necessitated a recount by the county, which began May 31.
The final results released Tuesday morning showed support for the ballot question improved considerably, with 724 voting yes and 287 voting no — a difference of 437 votes. The final results are deemed unofficial until they are certified by state, according to Montgomery County Spokesman John Corcoran.
The recount had been expected to be completed late Monday but was extended to Tuesday morning as county officials worked to complete tabulations in the final precinct, which took longer than expected, Corcoran said.
Supporters of the library tax remained optimistic for its chances. They say the tax will provide a stable source of revenue for the library, which has traditionally received its funding through an annual allocation through the borough’s municipal budget. This year, that allocation was $83,000.
Supporters say those budget allocations are volatile and at the discretion of the borough council, which can hamper the library’s ability to plan for future needs.
With the library tax’s approval, the average homeowner in Hatboro would pay about $70 a year.
The Union Library was formed in 1755 and is the third oldest library in Pennsylvania and the second oldest to be operating under its original charter. It is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
The library is looking to modernize, improve its offerings and extend its hours during the week, which supporters say will be achievable with the new tax.