Proposition L

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Proposition L?
Proposition L is a ballot measure that was passed unanimously by the Trustees of the University City Public Library on Dec. 19, 2018. This proposition asks the voters of the University City Public Library District for an increase of twelve cents ($0.12) over the present property tax levy for the purposes of renovating, improving, operating, and maintaining University City Public Library facilities, and for improving Library services.

When will Proposition L be on the ballot?
Proposition L will be on the ballot on Tuesday, April 2, 2019.

The ballot language will read:
Shall there be a tax increase of $0.12 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation over the present $0.28 tax per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation for the University City Public Library? If approved, the revenue is expected to be used to construct, renovate, improve, equip, operate and maintain library facilities and to improve library services.

How and when should I register to vote?
March 6 is the last day you can register to vote in the April 2 election. You can register online at; in person at the St. Louis County Board of Elections (725 Northwest Plaza Dr., St. Ann, MO, 63074) or at any motor vehicle registration office in St. Louis County; or you can also register by mail by picking up a voter registration application at UCPL.

How can I get an absentee ballot?
Request an application for an absentee ballot from the Board of Election Commissioners by calling 314-615-1833 or logging on to Wednesday, March 27 at 5 p.m. is the last opportunity to apply for an absentee ballot.

Monday, April 1 is the last day you can vote absentee in person at the Board of Election Commissioners office, 725 Northwest Plaza Dr., St. Ann. The office is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will be open Saturday, March 30 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

How would the 12-cent increase be spent?
While a specific cent-by-cent breakdown is still in the process of being developed, the increase would go toward building renovations and maintenance, and supporting existing and future Library services. University City Public Library Trustees and administration also plan to use the funding to support pay parity for Library staff members.

How much are University City taxpayers paying toward the Library now?
Residents of the University City Public Library District paid twenty-five cents ($0.25) per $100 of assessed valuation in 2018. For an average residential property in University City (valued at $240,900) this amounts to $112.60.

How much would this increase cost a homeowner?
The annual cost of this increase would vary depending on the appraised value of the residential property. The following list shows the cost of the 12-cent increase:
Residential property appraised at $100,000:            $22.80
Residential property appraised at $200,000:            $45.60
Average residential property in University City ($240,900):    $54.93

If Proposition L is passed, when will property owners have to pay this increase?
If Prop L is passed, it would go into effect in December 2019.

Has the University City Public Library rolled back its tax rate in accordance with the provisions of the Hancock Amendment?
Yes. In 1990, the voters of University City approved a rate of twenty-eight cents ($0.28) for the University City Public Library District. The rate has been rolled back each reassessment year in accordance with the Hancock Amendment and the 2018 rate is twenty-five cents ($0.25). The Library has not asked for a tax rate increase since 1990.

Since University City is in St. Louis County, why doesn’t the St. Louis County Library pay for the renovation, like it’s doing with the rest of the County Library branches?
University City Public Library has a separate taxing district than that of St. Louis County and is a completely separate library system. For UCPL to join the St. Louis County Library system, voters of University City would have to vote to dissolve the taxing district, an irreversible move by Missouri statute. University City taxes do not support St. Louis County Library.

What renovations would be completed with the tax levy increase?
Upgrade concrete, and other miscellaneous safety-related exterior appointments
Replace heating and air conditioning systems to increase energy efficiency
Update & upgrade lighting
Update bathrooms for ADA compliance
Remove or abate hazardous materials
Update & upgrade entryways
Upgrade meeting and study spaces
Replace plumbing systems
Install new electrical distribution
Tuck-point exterior walls
Update telephone, voice & data, and alarm systems

Would the library building be expanded?
No building additions are planned at this time.

How would the renovation help fix the overcrowding problems in the University City Public Library building?
A renovation would include reconfiguring the basement level and repurposing underutilized spaces. The renovation would also include a redesign of the interior space and appointments, allowing for better service to the public and improved efficiency of staff.

Would parking spaces be added?
No land will be purchased with proceeds from the tax increase. However, reconfiguration of the parking lot has the potential to add a few parking spaces.

Would the exterior of the building be changed?
No exterior changes are planned. Any exterior changes would require approval of the University City Historic Preservation Commission. That said, the tax increase will include funds to repair some exterior elements, including tuck-pointing of the brick and repairing cracks in the foundation and surrounding surfaces. The majority of the funds will be spent to renovate and improve the interior space.

What professional assistance has the library obtained to develop the renovation plan?
Within the past year, Library administrators have gone through the building with staff from University City’s Community Development and Public Works departments to assess problem areas and possible solutions. No formal plan has been adopted, but Library Trustees and administrators will be working with licensed architects in the coming months to incorporate the renovations suggested by University City during walkthroughs into the renovation plan. Cost estimates will be included in the final plan.

Has the library hired a professional architect to draw plans?
The Library has chosen Bond Architects to create a renovation plan that would be implemented if Proposition L passes.

What is the size of the collection at the University City Public Library?
As of December 2018 the University City Public Library collection has more than 220,000 items, including books, audio books, music CDs, DVDs, and magazines.

How many items are checked out of the University City Public Library?
In fiscal year 2018 (July 2017 through June 2018), the total circulation of library materials, including downloadable e-books and audiobooks, was 371,658, an increase of 3.4% over the previous year. This recent circulation represents an increase of 37% since 1990, the last time voters approved a tax increase.

How many people use the University City Public Library?
Over 192,000 people visited University City Public Library during fiscal year 2018, and there were another 427,732 virtual visits to the UCPL website and online catalog. The Library has more than 42,000 registered users, a number that does not include cardholders from the other member libraries of the Municipal Library Consortium. The Library’s public access computers were used 41,640 times; there were 48,632 wireless internet sessions; and the auditorium and small meeting rooms were used 2,464 times during fiscal year 2018.

With people using laptops, smart phones, and computers at home, why does the Library need so many computers?
Some patrons have no computer; some have no Internet access; others utilize the UCPL computers for high-speed access. Many companies as well as the State of Missouri require job applications be filled out online. The 28 public access computers at UCPL are available for people who need Internet, printing, and software that is available at the Library. As a community service, the Library also offers free computer classes to those who wish to learn skills or learn additional skills.

Why does the library use so much space for things other than books?
The University City Public Library is dedicated to providing lifelong learning and entertainment opportunities for its patrons. This means providing a wide range of educational and entertaining items, including DVDs, computers, audiobooks, music CDs, video cameras, and telescopes, as well as books. Additionally, the Library is a community center, with many meetings taking place in our auditorium and meeting rooms.

This information was prepared by the University City Public Library