Survey shows public backs library tax

With Sno-Isle Libraries more than two million dollars in the hole, officials have a new piece of information that might fuel a vote for a tax increase.

A group called “Yes for Libraries” conducted a random survey of voters in Island and Snohomish counties and found a majority would support a levy increase to either maintain or expand library services.

Martin Manguia, a Snohomish resident and Yes for Libraries member, said Monday that 70 percent of the people surveyed responded they would support a tax increase if it would maintain library services.

Fifty-three percent of the people surveyed said they would support a tax increase if it would increase library services.

“It’s a good indication of where people are leaning at this point in time,” Manguia said.

Yes for Libraries volunteers surveyed 400 voters last February. Manguia said it normally takes between 2,000 and 2,500 phone calls to come up with 400 participants.

Sno-Isle Library officials are currently trying to resolve a $2.5 million deficit. The library system receives between 90 and 95 percent of its revenue from property taxes. With annual tax increases capped by state law at 1 percent, tax revenue hasn’t kept up with rising costs.

The current tax rate for Sno-Isle Libraries is 31 cents per $1,000 assessed property value. The last time the library system asked for a tax increase, voters raised the assessment to 50 cents per $1,000.

A decision hasn’t been made yet about whether to put a tax measure on the November ballot. That is expected to come during the June 22 Sno-Isle Board of Trustees meeting.

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