Library levy is passing

Updated election returns show the Sno-Isle Libraries property-tax levy is passing.

“While the numbers are still very close, the margin is widening,” Executive Director Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory said. With a Snohomish County count released Thursday, April 26, the measure is now passing 50.41 percent to 49.59 percent.

A simple majority of votes is needed to pass the ballot measure. Passage would add 9 cents to the current library property tax levy. If the levy passes, 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.

“Given the number of ballots that election officials say remain to be counted, we are cautiously optimistic about the outcome,” Woolf-Ivory said.

Passage of the levy means services would be maintained for customers and communities across the two-county library district that serves about 750,000 residents. Library officials have been clear that without the levy, library hours, staffing and collection materials would be reduced starting in 2019.

The previous levy adjustment was approved by voters in 2009, just as the recession was deepening. At the time, library officials pledged to not come back to voters for at least five years. Stretching that pledge to nine years came by way of careful planning and prudent budgeting, Woolf-Ivory said.

“We will continue with that same thoughtful approach to our stewardship of public funds,” Woolf-Ivory said. “We know that voting for property taxes is tough. This is a very close election and we’re mindful of the feelings and concerns of those who didn’t vote, ‘Yes.’”

Awareness of concerns about property taxes helped shape the levy request, Woolf-Ivory said.

“State law allows the library levy to go to 50 cents,” she said. “We looked at the budget and projections and decided we just didn’t need that much, so, we didn’t ask for it.”

Maintaining services in the coming years means Sno-Isle Libraries would continue to evolve along with customers and communities, Woolf-Ivory said.

“It may seem like a library building is always the same, but really, the library is always evolving along with the customers,” Woolf-Ivory said. “Technology needs and choices change, community needs change and the library is changing, too.”

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