2017-10-25 / Opinions

A chance to boost libraries

West Virginia’s Attorney General has told Pocahontas County in a legal opinion that it can use Hotel/Motel tax revenue to fund their local library.

This has been a state battle since the lodging tax was created in the 1980s. Counties and lawmakers debated whether public libraries fit the bill of “cultural” or “historical” activities that could get a portion of the out-of-town money from people who stay at local lodging businesses. Morrisey has now said yes, libraries do.

Morgan County Commission should take the chance to use lodging revenue to shore up our public libraries. The libraries should formally ask for those funds.

Both libraries have shaved off days or hours of service to local residents due to a drop in funding. This is a bad thing, cutting off access to free computers, educational media, children’s areas, historical information and thousands of books.

If Morgan County is serious about having an active and educated workforce and a safe place for families and kids to grow, county officials have an easy way to make that happen – give local libraries the money they need to operate.

Libraries are important – as places of culture, history, education and even job seeking and training. There is no better use of the growing pot of Hotel/Motel money than for these facilities, which serve everyone – visitors and locals, rich and poor, young and old.

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