Prop. 1 passes; SJ Island library will receive $404K more in property tax revenue starting in 2012

Max Kessler checks out a book from San Juan Island with help of the library’s Adrienne Bourne.  - Cali Bagby
Max Kessler checks out a book from San Juan Island with help of the library’s Adrienne Bourne.
— image credit: Cali Bagby

Programs and services will remain in tact at the San Juan Island Library, as voters lined up in favor of the library's request for a 12-cent property-tax hike in Tuesday's primary election.

With nearly 500 ballots left to count, Proposition No. 1, which will generate an additional $404,000 in tax revenue for the library beginning next year, had received 55 percent of 2,642 ballots counted following the 8 p.m. election deadline.

According to San Juan County Elections, Prop. 1 drew 1,460 "Yes" votes compared to 1,182 "No" votes, a difference of only 278 votes. Elections Supervisor Doris Schaller said the outcome of the election is not expected to change once the final 490 or so ballots are tabulated.

Like all government agencies, the San Juan Island Library is allowed a 1-percent annual increase in its property tax levy (plus a trickle of revenue from new construction) regardless of inflation or any uptick in expenses. The library, which this year will receive about $859,000 in tax revenue, will have roughly $1.2 million at its disposal with its property-tax increase in place.

In the run up to Tuesday's election, members of the library's board of trustees said that the 12-cent increase was needed to maintain the level and the assortment of services and programs, and staffing, the library currently provides.

San Juan voters last approved a property-tax increase for the library in 1993.

The remaining primary ballots will be counted Friday, at 5 p.m. The election is slated to be certified Aug. 31.

In addition to Prop. 1, Tuesday's local primary included a contested race for the Port of Lopez Commission. With 318 votes, Suzanne Berry garnered 44.5 percent of 714 ballots cast and led Stephen Adams by 42 votes in a three-way race for position No. 2 on the commission. Ken Knutsen received 120 votes.

Schaller said the primary's voter-turnout should exceed 50 percent after the final batch of ballots are counted.

-- Scott Rasmussen


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