Lawsuit Updates

Updated March 20, 2015
On March 19, 2015, the Commonwealth of Kentucky Court of Appeals unanimously ruled in favor of libraries 3-0 and overturned the rulings issued by the Campbell and Kenton County Circuit Courts in 2013.

Cathy Howard, president of the board of trustees of the Campbell County Public Library, said in a statement:

We are thrilled the Appeals Court firmly and unanimously ruled in our favor. The Court set a strong precedent with this ruling. We are happy to move forward from this litigation and focus on serving the public. The Court’s decision confirms that this library and other libraries across the Commonwealth have been acting in good faith, following the direction the legislators intended.  We have always been open and accountable to the taxpayers, providing the best library services possible for the people of Campbell County.

Read the court's decision {PDF} 

Summary/Overview

A lawsuit was filed in January 2012 in Campbell County Circuit Court by attorney Brandon Voelker on behalf of Charlie Coleman, John P. Roth, Jr., and Erik Hermes. The plaintiffs held that public libraries should be following Kentucky Revised Statute (KRS) 173.790 while the Libraries had been following KRS 132 in setting their annual tax rates. 

On April 1, 2013, Campbell Circuit Court Judge Julie Reinhart Ward ruled that KRS 173.790 should govern the Library’s tax rate. The Library filed an appeal to that ruling with the Kentucky Court of Appeals. 

On March 19, 2015, the Commonwealth of Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the library in a unanimous, 3-0, decision. The court determined it was the legislative intent for libraries to follow KRS 132 stating, “the general assembly clearly intended that its provisions would apply to all existing taxing districts.”

In addition the court said, “For over thirty years, without protest or challenge, the library districts created by petition have acted in good faith and conducted their affairs in accordance with the directions of the Executive Branch.”

Tax Rates for Campbell County Public Library

  • The current tax rate is 7.7 cents per $100, or $77 on a $100,000 property. An average homeowner in Campbell County has a $150,000 property and pays about $116 per year in library taxes.
  • The library’s board of trustees adopts tax rates in the summer and will abide by the Court’s decision when considering any changes.
  • Current library budget for FY 2014-2015 includes $2.85 million for personnel and benefits, $1,098,000 for operating costs, $147,000 in capital expenses, and $710,000 for the circulating collection.

Click here to see the Library’s budgets for Fiscal Year 2013-2014 and 2014-2015.