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Marysville Library hosts levy open house

 

April 18, 2018 | View PDF

Christopher Andersson

Marti Anamosa, left, president of the Sno-Isle Libraries board of trustees, and local Doris McGregor talk about the upcoming April levy that would support the library district at an open house in Marysville on April 11.

Sno-Isle Libraries officials came out to the Marysville Library to talk about their levy on the April 24 ballot during an open house event.

The levy is meant to help Sno-Isle Libraries, which runs most public libraries in Snohomish County and Island County, to maintain their current level of service.

"We have a reputation for having excellent library service and I think that our communities rely on that, they expect that," said Marti Anamosa, president of Sno-Isle board of trustees.

Ken Harvey, communications director of the library district, said that many people use the resources from local libraries.

"What we've been hearing from all of the communities in the Sno-Isle Libraries District for years is that they really appreciate the role of libraries in the community and like the resources they can find there," said Harvey.

"This ballot measure is really asking the voters if they want that level of service to continue over the next five, six or seven years," he said.

The levy would increase property tax collected for the library district to an estimated $0.47 per $1,000 of assessed value.

That would be a $0.09 increase in the rate from last year.

The last time Sno-Isle Libraries put a levy on the ballot was nine years ago. Unlike school levies, library district levies do not last a limited amount of time.

However, state law limits the amount that library districts can increase their collections each year to around 1 percent.

Because of this, inflation usually outpaces the collection increases and library districts have to go to the voters every few years.

"This is not an unexpected levy, because of the limitation on our budget growth, inflation is constantly outpacing our budget," said Anamosa.

"We anticipate that every certain number of years we will have to go back to the voters and ask for a levy, which is anticipated by the law," she said.

After the last levy nine years ago the library district had more revenue than their budget for a couple of years.

"We saved some in reserves and used those reserves as our costs went up," said Anamosa. "Those reserves are pretty much depleted at this point."

Because of that the district decided to go back to the voters for a levy now.

"It's time for us to boost it back up or we will have to start limiting our budget," said Anamosa. "We are at the point that we would have to cut back services some."

Nine years ago Sno-Isle Libraries officials said they would not put another levy on the ballot for at least five years, and they say they plan to use the same financial strategy as last cycle.

"We anticipate using the same plan, putting some of the funds in reserves until our expenses exceed what we make in the levy," said Anamosa.

Library district officials spoke with many locals about the intricacies of funding a library district at the Marysville open house, and nine other open houses around their district.

"I've been given a good description and my mind is not made up at this time," said local Dennis O'Brien.

"I support the libraries and I think they provide a good service, but taxes are always an issue and I am taking it under consideration," he said.

Harvey said that the other item the public had questions about was the cost of the election.

"Much of it is the cost we pay to the county's election office for the cost of ballots," and the cost of sending information about the levy to the voters, said Harvey.

"I feel that this levy request is very reasonable. It's anticipated. It's the way Sno-Isle does business, going back to the voters and basically asking 'how are we doing?'" said Anamosa.

More information about the proposed levy is available at sno-isle.org/funding/levy.

 

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