Lid lift for King County libraries appears headed for approval/ Special Election
February 22, 2010 · 6:48 PM
The vote count continues to run in favor of the King County Library System (KCLS) and its proposed levy lid lift.
Certification of votes was set to occur Feb. 24 in both King and Snohomish counties. That certification took place after the deadline for this issue.
But according to the latest numbers available prior to deadline, the KCLS issue was passing in both counties by a combined total of 125,882 votes in favor to 115,349 votes against.
Though the lid lift benefits libraries within King County, a few thousand voters living in the Snohomish County portion of Bothell were eligible to vote on the issue.
Prior to the all-mail election that ended Feb. 9, a library spokesperson said KCLS officials would need to make “across the board cuts” of 10 to 15 percent in 2011 if the lid lift failed.
Community relations and marketing director for the library, Julie Brand said the cuts would have limited dollars spent on new books, technology and building maintenance. She added library hours of operation and staffing would have faced the budget axe in coming years.
What voters unofficially approved is an increase in the property tax levy rate benefitting KCLS, moving that rate to 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation.
Brand said for a home valued at $400,000, that amounts to about $200 annually, up from about $168 annually.
Voters last approved a lid lift for the library system in 2002.
While the lid lift was intended to benefit the entire system, KCLS Director Bill Ptacek noted it will help the coming new Kenmore KCLS branch be of as much service to residents as possible.
“It’s going to ensure the new Kenmore Library will be as available to the public as we wanted it to be,” he said.
Ptacek added he is just pleased voters apparently have recognized the system as a valuable asset.
As for the Kenmore project, it was not directly dependent on passage of the levy and Ptacek said he still expects construction to get under way next month.
The first step is demolition of the existing building at the site of the new branch on Northeast 181st Street, the current location of the Kenmore branch of the US Post Office.
The post office is set to move across the street into the old Kenmore City Hall.
According to Ptacek, contractors for the post office are in the City Hall building and renovations are under way.