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Library officials hopeful for levy

Sno-Isle Regional Library System officials remain optimistic that the Feb. 4 levy election will provide the revenue to maintain the status quo.

Library officials said the restoration of a property levy rate of 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed value would pay for current services and programs.

“We’re taking a positive approach that the levy will pass by voters,” said Betsy Erand, assistant managing librarian of the Oak Harbor Library.

Currently the levy rate stands at 44 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

Mary Kelly, community relations manager for the Sno-Isle Regional Library System, said that the rate has fallen due to increasing home values and from recent voter-mandated legislation.

Initiative 747, which was passed by voters in 2001, allows for a 1 percent increase in tax revenue unless otherwise approved by the voters. As home values increased, the levy rate had to decrease to keep within the voter approved tax barrier, Kelly said.

In previous years,The Sno-Isle Regional Library System was able to maintain as 50 cent levy as long as taxes didn’t increase by more than 6 percent.

The restoration would provide the library system with approximately $2.5 million in revenues.

Although preparations have not been made should the levy fail, Kelly said that libraries could cut hours, cutback services and delay the replacement of equipment to make up a shortfall.

Should the measure pass, an owner of a $200,000 home will pay $100 a year for the levy instead of the current rate of $88, Kelly said.

The levy has to pass by June 1 for it to take into effect in January 2004.

Library officials are having the levy vote coincide with several school school measures.

“We feel strong that people who support the schools will also support the library,” Kelly said.

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