Levy Lid Lift | Letter

A “levy lid lift” before us on the August 6 ballot will ask voters to fund future library operations until 2035. The last library levy in 2011 spanned 12 years, double the 6-year commitment, due to careful administrative stewardship and budgeting.

Our small and fractured community must wrestle with many public service funding requests by balancing personal views with community needs while recognizing the growing burden of our property tax bills. Since the suffocation of the pandemic and the strains of inflation, many people are forced to deal with the cumulative impacts of numerous junior taxing district levies on family budgets. Our volatile, speculative real estate market, housing crisis and growing government appetite for revenue are whip-sawing everyone but the wealthy. But important public services must be funded by reasonable taxation.

I applaud local libraries as essential public commons that serve as places of learning and connection, welcoming all. I spoke out against the recent bond issue to build a larger library – 59% of us voted no – and expect library officials to significantly increase the proportion of big donor money to design and build a large new library in respect for taxpayers.

However, I know enough about the challenges of local fund-raising for critical affordable housing that the day-to-day library operations that we enjoy will not survive without reliable multi-year taxpayer support. Chasing annual donation funding is stressful and time-consuming and could never meet the annual operational needs of a vibrant library that three of five of our island residents enjoy.

Steve Ulvi,

San Juan Island