Letters to the Editor

Opposed to library levy increase; wrong message in tough times | Letters

I am urging folks to vote "No" on the upcoming library levy lift.

I love our library and use it all the time, but I have serious reservations about the proposed increase. This was presented to me in conversations earlier in the summer as just a little lift needed to maintain current services; then I saw the actual budget numbers.

The request is for an increase of almost 50 percent over current budget. I know that the limit for increase without voter approval is only 1 percent per year and that medical benefits have risen much faster than that, but a $400,000 increase on a current budget of about $800,000 is the wrong message in tough times.

The board should not have spent down the reserves without securing funding first. Without funding, they should have looked for savings. Many organizations have changed health plans to address higher cost. Others have reduced hours of operations.

For the library to blithely power ahead with business as usual is just wrong.

I know this lift is only pennies per thousand of assessed value, but with the high land-values on San Juan Island, even at our relatively low tax rates, pennies add up. Now is not the time to ask for more money for more programs and Cadillac benefits. Instead, now is the time to cut costs and hunker down.

Many families in the library district have experienced cutbacks in wages as the private employers are squeezed. County employees are taking unpaid days off.

If the library commissioners can't understand this and say "No" to new spending and start looking for ways to economize then it's up to the voters to do it for them.

Please vote "No" on the library increase.

Greg Hertel

San Juan Island

 

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