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King County Rural Library District

Proposition No. 1

The Board of Directors of the King County Rural Library District adopted Resolution No. 2009-11 concerning an increase in the District’s regular property tax levy.  In order to provide continued funding for the normal operation and maintenance of the King County library system, this proposition would authorize the District to restore regular property tax levy rate to $0.50 per thousand dollars of assessed value for collection in 2011, and to increase the levy in each year thereafter as allowed by chapter 84.55 RCW.  Should this proposition be approved?



King County Rural Library District (King County Library System or KCLS) receives 96% of its operating revenue from property taxes.  Since 2001, State law has limited growth in property tax revenues to 1% annually without voter approval (a levy lid lift).  In 2002, voters approved a one-year levy lid lift for KCLS to restore the full legally authorized rate limitation of 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation.  This temporary restoration sustained operations as planned for eight years, during which library usage increased 43%.  Proposition 1 would authorize KCLS to restore its property tax levy rate to 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, for collection in 2011, and to use that levy amount as the basis for KCLS’s property tax limitations in subsequent years. 

Approval of this Proposition would enable KCLS to sustain library service at current levels at all 45 libraries, including programs, building maintenance, computers, new books and other materials.  The restored revenue also would enable KCLS to maintain outreach services to elderly and homebound, low-income daycares and community centers.

Rejection of this Proposition would lead to 10-15% budget cuts across the organization beginning in 2011 in order to operate within current revenue restrictions, limiting funding for books, computers and building maintenance.  Effects of these cuts may include increased wait times for popular book titles, reduced availability of computers and less frequent maintenance and upkeep of libraries.  Library staff and hours of operation will be affected in future years without this short-term restoration of revenue.

KCLS libraries are busier than ever, but I-747 revenue restrictions will force reductions in library hours, resources and services unless we restore full funding for 2011. One year of revenue restoration will help KCLS maintain quality service.

KCLS helps families raise strong readers
Early literacy programs help families teach babies language skills that last a lifetime. 

KCLS helps students succeed
KCLS helps children love learning, and enables parents to guide children to their highest educational goals. KCLS is even more important as school libraries cut services.

KCLS helps job-seekers
In 2009, thousands of residents turned to KCLS for help finding job-related information, resume-writing resources, computer skills classes, small business support, and financial research.

Voting “no” will force cuts in library services
KCLS has maintained quality libraries within a severely reduced budget since 2001 despite a 43% growth in use. Failure to restore the full legal property tax level for 2011 will force reductions in materials, open hours, computers, and maintenance.

One year of restored funding will maintain quality service
Voting ‘approved’ restores full library funding for one year. For a $400,000 home, that’s just $32 more in 2011 for libraries--less than one hardcover book.

Vote Yes on Proposition 1!

Public libraries are important – together with education, police and other valuable services.

However, as public schools and government agencies reduce expenses during the worst recession since 1929, library management coldheartedly disregards thousands of unemployed, including families losing homes overburdened already by overassessed property taxes.

This should not surprise anyone.

The state Public Disclosure Commission’s Compliance Director documented this same management’s unlawful misuse of tax dollars for “communications [that] were not a fair and balanced presentation of the facts.  The effort constituted a campaign promoting passage of Proposition 1, in violation of RCW 42.17.130”

Library Board members disciplined that Machiavellian lawbreaking by raising its CEO’s salary to $160,620.82.

Library officials also negligently refuse to address costly nonessentials.

Indeed, KCLS continues to buy advertising for its “entertainment” diversions, which multiply discipline problems, e.g., children left to play videogames, for hours, abandoned repeatedly at closing time (including by parents gambling at Emerald Downs according to Board discussion on December 15, 2009).

Taxpayers apparently cannot stop public libraries from becoming videogame arcades – disrupting research and reading – but we can decide that financing “entertainment” by raising property taxes on citizens being foreclosed out of their homes is “An Indecent Proposal” (KCLS Call Number VT-Fic-I).

Libraries offer more than entertainment.
More than 1.2 million residents use KCLS’ 45 libraries, choosing from 4 million books.
Adults find job leads, resume help and business tools.
Preschoolers build lifelong learning skills.
Students in 18 school districts get homework help.
Seniors stay active and involved in learning.
About $32 more for one year ensures books, computers and learning tools for all.
KCLS is a solid investment in our future.
Yes on Prop 1.

Statement submittted by:
Dean Smith, Rachael Levine and Doris Townsend

Government revenues are down – along with incomes of many taxpayers already generously supporting libraries with $173.60 in annual taxes on “average” $395,000 family homes – so library officials authorize $1 million for this Special Election’s costs to raise library taxes higher repeatedly.

Board Minutes document abuse of taxpayers from failures to save $500,000 by simply waiting for this year’s Primary because the CEO insists wastefully expensive Special Elections “turn out a lot of supportive voters" (8/25/2009).

Statement submitted by: Will Knedlik

Simple Majority (RCW 84.55.050)

1233 en-US Production

TTY: Relay 711

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