New Lake Stevens Library on Feb. 13 ballot

If voters approve a Feb. 13, 2018, bond measure, the current Lake Stevens Library (top) would be replaced with a new, larger building on property near the corner of  99th Avenue NE and Market Place (below).

Voters will get a chance to decide on a new library for the Lake Stevens area.

The final step to putting a library bond measure on the Feb. 13, 2018, ballot was passed unanimously Dec. 4 by the Snohomish County Council.

“The Lake Stevens community has told us for years that a new, larger library is needed,” Sno-Isle Libraries Executive Director Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory said. “The actions and support of the Friends of the Lake Stevens Library, the Lake Stevens Library Board, the City of Lake Stevens, the Sno-Isle Libraries Board of Trustees and now the county council bring that opportunity to the community.”

County Council member Sam Low, previously a member of the Lake Stevens City Council, said he supports going to the voters. “The citizens of Lake Stevens have told me they want to have a voice with regard to a library in our city,” Low said.  “This vote will allow that voice.”

The Lake Stevens City Council on Oct. 24 unanimously passed a resolution supporting putting the bond measure on the Feb. 13 ballot. This past summer, both the Lake Stevens Library Board and the Friends of the Lake Stevens Library sent letters to the city council calling for a larger library for the community.

The bond measure on the ballot will be for up to $17 million to build and furnish a new 20,000 square foot library. The location of the new building would be near 99th Avenue NE and Market Place in an area known as Chapel Hill.

“Our 2016-25 Capital Facilities Plan identified the need in the Lake Stevens community as a priority,” Woolf-Ivory said. “Community members were clear that they felt the current library is too small for this rapidly growing area.”

The current library is about 2,500 square feet. It is in a city-owned building in an area identified by the city for redevelopment. The location of the proposed new library is included in a subarea plan by the City of Lake Stevens. The new building would be owned and maintained by Sno-Isle Libraries.

The proposed site was purchased by the library district in 2016 and is adjacent to property owned by the City of Lake Stevens. Woolf-Ivory, Lake Stevens Mayor John Spencer and others from the city and library district have been in discussions on how to collaboratively best use the parcels.

This is the second time the library bond measure will go to voters. On the Feb. 14, 2017 ballot, the bond measure received a 66-percent “Yes” vote. While the approval rate was above the required 60 percent, voter turnout missed the needed threshold.

Also on the 2017 ballot was a measure establishing the Lake Steven Library Capital Facility Area (LCFA). That measure passed with a 69 percent “Yes” vote and didn’t have a voter-turnout requirement.

The proposed bond would be for 20-years and repaid by a property-tax levy assessed within the LCFA boundaries, which mirror those of the Lake Stevens School District. The projected levy rate would be 21.1 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. The owner of a $350,000 home would pay $73.85. When the bonds are paid off in 20 years, the levy would go away.