Letters to the Editor

Library levy: You get a lot for eight dollars

Our libraries in Island and Snohomish county need our help.The Sno-Isle Library system has been funded by a levy implemented by taxpayers over a decade ago. The levy provided the library with funding amounting to 50 cents per thousand dollars of assessed property value in the area. The assessed property values have increased over the years, substantially due to more families moving into the area.The libraries were able to maintain their service to the increasing population by virtue of the constant 50 cent levy rate.

Initiative 747 changed that. Now the library is restricted to a 1 percent increase in funds per year regardless of the costs imposed by additional users. The libraries are now receiving funding that corresponds to about 46 cents/$1000 of assessed property value. As a result, in the last two years, cuts were made in equipment budgets, training, facility upgrades and reserve accounts.

However, this year more severe reductions will be necessary and will include closure of all libraries for one week, smaller book budgets and reduced weekly hours of some libraries.

We can all be proud of the quality of service and programs that the Sno-Isle Libraries have been able to provide; like the Children's Summer Reading Program.The system is filled with dedicated people from the director to the staff in each of the libraries who are doing everything they can to run an efficient program. Restoring the levy to 50 cents will cost the owner of a $200,000 home $8 a year. If you could see the excited participation of 200 children in the summer reading program you would think it the best $8 you could spend next year. Please vote yes to restore the library levy.

Bruce Sutherland

Oak Harbor

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