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Library levy lid lift to maintain programs

Sets aside funds for future needs

San Juan Island Library Board is asking for a 12-cent levy lid lift. If approved the tax rate collected for the library district would increase from $.27 to $.39 per thousand of assessed value. An owner of a $400,000 home would pay $156 per year in library district taxes instead of $108 - an increase of $48.


The county-wide population increased 57 percent since the last time the San Juan Island Library District asked the voters for a levy lid lift. In 1993 the new voter-approved $.50 levy was used to set the dollar amount the library could collect.


By 2011 with the 1 percent annual increases and the addition of property taxes from new construction, the tax revenue for the library was $865,082 calculated at a rate of $.27 per thousand dollars of assessed value.

The tax rate was lower because the property values had increased since 1993 and it took a lower rate to achieve the allowable dollar amount.

Under a voter-initiated state law, taxes cannot increase more than 1 percent a year (except for the addition of new construction). The library district board says without the lid lift it will have to start cutting services beginning in 2012.

If approved, the new levy rate of $.39 will be multiplied by the assessed value ($3,239,947,218) of property in the San Juan Island library junior taxing district, setting the new amount the library can collect at $1,263,579.

Some of the increase will be used to cover increasing costs of maintaining the current programs and staff. Most of the new revenue will be used to create reserve funds, including a capital reserve and a technology fund.

Over the upcoming years, as the 1 percent annual increases fail to keep up with increasing budgets due to cost increases and population growth, the reserves will be available to meet the needs. This is the same model the library district used for the past 17 years.


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