The passage of Port Orchard’s Library annexation measure in Tuesday’s primary throws a wild card into the deck with regards to Kitsap Regional Library’s proposed levy lid lift, to come before voters Nov. 2.
The city of Port Orchard was the only local jurisdiction not officially part of Kitsap County Rural Library District. With approval of the annexation, city property owners will begin in 2012 to pay taxes directly toward the library district. They immediately gain the right to vote on the library district levy lid lift measure. The library services they receive will not change, however, because the city currently contracts with KRL for access to the entire KRL collection.
The Kitsap Regional Library Board of Trustees earlier this year conducted a telephone survey (KRLsupporters) of potential supporters (people who voted in favor of the most recent school district levy in their respective districts). The thought is, people who support schools are likely to support libraries as well. Voters turned down a library levy increase in 2007, and the board, before they placed the measure before voters again, wanted to know they had an adequate support base. The levy must pass with a simple majority of just more than 50 percent, but in terms of support, the board was looking for percentages in the 70 to 80 percent range.
What they found is, fewer folks in South Kitsap said they’d support the library levy increase than residents of other areas of the county (see pdf below). Levels of support in order are South Kitsap with just less than 60 percent, Bremerton with just less than 70 percent, Central Kitsap with 70 percent, North Kitsap with just less than 80 percent and Bainbridge Island with about 83 percent.
Port Orchard’s library annexation adds South Kitsap voters to the total number of people voting on the library levy. If KRL’s survey results hold true, that could increase the percentage of “no” voters on the library levy measure.
It’s also not clear from the library annexation results whether those who voted in favor of it (by a slam dunk margin of 71.7 percent) would favor or oppose a library levy hike. Perhaps the 987 city residents who voted for annexation were saying, “Heck, yes, we want a chance to vote ‘no!’”
Speaking of annexations, the 2009 annexation of McCormick Woods added about 2,000 people to the city’s population of about 8,000. Local officials have speculated that McWoods voters could carry significant weight in elections, and library officials at a recent meeting speculated that McWoods might be more inclined to support libraries.
Again, you can’t make a correlation between voting for the annexation and voting for the library levy increase, but for what it’s worth, the annexation approval rate in McWoods was 65 percent. In the rest of the city it was 59 percent.