Board Approves Levy Election

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Colfax, WA – During Friday’s meeting, the Whitman County Library Board of Trustees voted to hold a library maintenance and operation levy restoration election on Tuesday, February 11, 2014. Restoring the levy rate allows the library to maintain existing hours, collections, technology, programs and staffing levels in all 14 county locations.

The measure seeks to reset the library’s levy rate to 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value within the library district, a rate that was originally approved by voters in 1984 and was in effect through 2002. With the passage of I-747 in 2001 the levy rate began to drop, requiring voters to restore the levy in 2010 and now, again for 2015.

If approved in February, the restored library levy rate will increase by 7.08 cents returning to 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. This means approximately $7 more per year for the owner of a $100,000 home or a total of $50 per year.

Library Director Kristie Kirkpatrick believes local library taxes are a bargain. “In our communities, the library is the hub of activity. When you consider the economic and social impact of WCL’s educational and community programs, materials collections, Wi-Fi hotspots, eBooks and online services and I don’t think you’ll find a better bargain!”

According to Kirkpatrick, the cost of running 14 library locations is rapidly outpacing the library’s dropping levy rate. Whitman County Library serves nearly 15,000 residents through a system of fourteen branch locations. Because the district operates so many locations, it was open 8525 hours last year, more than twice the average for libraries of similar size in Washington. Library usage is extremely strong with attendance at children, teen and adult programs being 28,227 or nearly 70% above the state average, use of computers topping 30,350 and circulation at 167,000 and use of online database products at 106,230.

All unincorporated areas of the county will vote on the measure along with the towns of Albion, Colfax, Endicott, Farmington, Garfield, Lacrosse, Lamont, Malden, Oakesdale, Palouse, St. John and Tekoa will vote. Residents living within the city limits of Colton, Rosalia and Uniontown will not vote on the levy because their city pays a contract for library service and they and they do not officially belong to the district. There contracts will reflect the increase if it is approved. Pullman city residents are served by Neill Public Library and are unaffected by this measure.

For more information about the levy restoration, contact library director Kristie Kirpatrick at 509-397-4366. Information about tax rates can be obtained from the Whitman County Assessor and information about the election from the County Auditor. Both can be reached by calling the county switchboard at 509-397-4622.

For more information, contact:

Kristie Kirkpatrick at 509-397-4366