Letters to the Editor

Feedback: Bigger library, higher costs

The total population of North Whidbey Island only increased by 145 people between 1990 and 2000. Furthermore, the Oak Harbor School District student enrollment population has declined by 563 students since 1999 (an 8.7 percent decrease), and it is projected to get smaller.

Yet, the Library Board, which is an unelected body, seems insistent on repeatedly making misleading inferences about North Whidbey Island currently bursting at its seams with more people, along with made-up baseless projections of 28 percent more people here by 2020, to justify both the creation of a new library capital facility area (i.e. a new taxing district), and a tripling-in-size of the current local library in Oak Harbor.

Even the folks in Stanwood/Camano, whose population actually almost doubled between 1990 and 2000, still had enough sense this fall to twice-reject an overreaching $9 million new library proposed by the Sno-Isle library system.

In Seattle, with recently new, much-larger library buildings, despite an eight percent increase in the library budget, the city is having trouble keeping up with the rising cost of maintaining library services.

Revelation: bigger libraries cost more to operate.

Throughout Snohomish and Island counties, we very recently increased our local property taxes because the Sno-Isle library system claimed they were unable to operate and maintain their current (smaller) library system.

So, let’s think about this: Sno-Isle needed to increase maintenance and operation taxes because they needed more money to operate their current (smaller) libraries. Yet, they wanted voters to give them money to build much bigger libraries with unknown operating costs.

The Stanwood/Camano voters got it right twice, and so did North Whidbey.

William Burnett

Oak Harbor

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