Letters to the Editor

Supporters seek to correct 'misinformation' about library levy | Letters

Any vote in the San Juans rightly brings out a variety of perspectives.

But sometimes these debates also lead to misinformation.

Islanders for the San Juan Library provides the following information about the library’s levy lid lift to correct misleading information that was recently circulated:

In 1993, voters chose to increase the library’s property tax rate to $0.50 per $1,000 of assessed value.

Because by law the library can increase its revenue only 1 percent per year, the effective tax rate decreased to $0.27 over time as property values increased faster than 1 percent per year.

The library now seeks a modest increase to $0.39, not the maximum $0.50 rate.

The renewal is intended to fund services at existing levels for the next six years, with some of the funding front-loaded to compensate for the 1 percent cap going forward.

The library will use the tax revenue in part to make up for the shortfall that it has already experienced as a 6 percent annual increase in expenses outstripped the 1 percent cap, as well as to replenish reserves.

The library’s spending is consistent with neighboring island libraries.

A per capita comparison reveals that in 2009, Orcas Island Library spent $98.25 per capita, San Juan spent $103.95, and Lopez spent $147.26.

Any comparison with government entities that receive tax revenue from a variety of sources is meaningless.

For example, while the library receives approximately 97 percent of its funding from property taxes, the Town of Friday Harbor gets only 26 percent of its revenue from property taxes.

Without the levy lift, services will have to be cut every year beginning in 2012.

The library provides our community with outstanding service at a reasonable cost.

It’s important to the community that it maintain that service into the future. Please mark “Yes” on your ballot.

Submitted by

Islanders for SJ Library

(Editor’s note: Islanders for SJ Library is an advocacy group registered with the Washington state Public Discolsure Commission as a campaign committee).



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