How Would Library Levy Increase Be Spent?

Jeff Brody, spokesman for Kitsap Regional Library, sent the Kitsap Sun a press release (LibraryPress) detailing Tuesday’s meeting of the library board,. The meeting included a review by CFO Bob Goldstein of how revenue generated by a levy lid lift would be apportioned according to a 10-year plan. The board is leaning toward running a ballot measure Nov. 2. Brody also discussed cuts made in the library system and why the board is considering a lid lift.

Here is the list from Brody’s release:
“If placed on the ballot and approved by a majority of voters, the proposal would result in the library having an additional $3.6 million per year in revenue. The owner of a $250,000 home would pay $31.25 per year in additional property taxes. (My note: the current amount is 32 cents per $1,000; the owner of a $250,000 home now pays $80 a year.)

About $17.5 million over 10 years would be directed toward operations, including:
• Adding back hours of operation, six hours per week at each of the nine branches, including reopening on Saturday mornings
• Increasing spending on the library’s collection. This would reduce wait times for books many patrons want and eventually increase the overall size of the library’s collection.
• Restoring live online homework help for Kitsap County students. This service was eliminated because of recent budget cuts.
• Increasing staff and covering expanded operations at Silverdale and Kingston as the two new, expanded libraries in those communities open
• Expanding technology spending, including money for computers and software, the catalog system and the KRL web site
• Enhancing programs and services at all the KRL branches
• Building KRL’s financial reserves so that the system has enough cash on hand to pay for a month’s spending

The library system would use about $18.5 million over the first 10 years for capital projects, including:
• Building a new library branch in Silverdale, to open in 2013
• Building a new library branch in Kingston, to open in 2015
• Earmarking funds to help the city of Port Orchard build a new library facility
• Creating a pool of money that will help the other entities that own the buildings that house KRL branches to perform needed capital improvements, pay for energy efficiencies or expand.

The two new libraries would be paid for with cash or with short-term bonds. KRL has hired local architectural firm Rice Fergus Miller to verify the system’s cost estimates for the two new libraries and assure the public that the levy can fund the projects promised if the levy passes.

KRL owns the Sylvan Way and Silverdale branch library buildings. The other seven are owned by Kitsap County; the cities of Port Orchard, Bremerton and Poulsbo; the S’Klallam Tribe; and non-profit organizations on Bainbridge Island and in Manchester. KRL has asked each of the building owners to identify specific building needs that could be addressed with money from the levy.”

Chris Henry, reporter

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