Results too close to call with first returns on levy election

Updated noon, April 26
With the Wednesday, April 25, vote-count updates from Snohomish and Island counties, the library levy measure is now passing with just over 50 percent “yes” votes. However, the election remains too close to call. Additional vote counts are expected by 5 p.m.  Thursday.

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Early election returns show that passage of a property-tax levy for Sno-Isle Libraries is too close to call.

“Right now, the vote count is just too close,” Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory, Sno-Isle Libraries Executive Director, said Tuesday night. “We want to be cautious and wait for all ballots to be counted before assuming the measure passes or fails.”

The ballot measure called for adding 9 cents to current library property tax levy. If it does pass, the levy rate in 2019 would be 47 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. The voting deadline was April 24. County auditor offices in Snohomish and Island counties are scheduled to certify election results on May 4. A simple majority is needed for passage.

If the measure doesn’t pass, the existing levy would continue. However, revenue wouldn’t meet the rising costs of maintaining services and the budget would be reduced starting in 2019.

“We need to wait and see what the outcome of this election is before deciding on next steps,” Woolf-Ivory said.

Woolf-Ivory said the early results are understandable given the difficult discussions regarding property taxes. “We know that talking about and voting for property taxes is tough,” she said.

Things were no less difficult in 2009, Woolf-Ivory said.

“It was the front edge of the recession,” she said. “We said we wouldn’t come back for at least five years and we made good on that promise and then some. We used careful, thoughtful and practical management then and if given the chance, we will use the same approach going forward.”

To maintain services, Sno-Isle Libraries would continue to evolve along with customers and communities, Woolf-Ivory said.

“More customers are downloading books, music and video and our collection reflects those choices,” Woolf-Ivory said. “More communities are looking to the library as a gathering place and programs such as the Issues That Matter series. We are meeting those changing needs now and are looking ahead to meet community and customer needs in the future.”

The Secretary of State’s office has combined results from Snohomish and Island counties. Auditor offices in each county have links to the results: