Tobyhanna Township Loses Clymer Library Tax Lawsuit

SEP 20 2022, 8am

STROUDSBURG – A Monroe County judge has rejected the claims made by the Tobyhanna Township supervisors in a lawsuit they authorized challenging the library tax increase they previously approved.

If that sounded confusing, that’s because it is.

In June, 2021, the supervisors granted the Clymer Library’s request to increase the library tax, which had been approved by township voters in a 1994 referendum and not increased since.

Following a change of solicitors for the township, new solicitor Harry Coleman advised the supervisors they were not permitted to increase the library tax.

Dutifully, the supervisors rescinded the increase in December, 2021, and authorized their lawyer to bring an action against the Clymer declaring that the board could not increase the tax.

After eight months of litigation, the judge ruled that the solicitor gave bad advice.

Issue was joined over the state law authorizing the imposition of a library tax only if voters approve it by referendum. The authorizing statute then states that “the municipal officers of the municipality that have approved the library tax may increase the rate without submitting the question to the voters.”

The township took the position that the statute prohibited an increase in the tax without first going to the voters for approval.

The court applied what it said were basic rules of interpretation and held that the law’s “meaning is clear and unambiguous: municipal officers may increase the rate of a library tax without submitting the question to the voters.”

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