Lopez Island Library Levy FAQ

Submitted by Barbara Orcutt

Chair, Friends of Lopez Island Library Board

Why does the library need a levy lift?

The last levy lift was in 2006. While inflation has been low since then, library costs have been increasing over the past several years. Library tax levy fund increases have not kept pace with costs and library tax revenue in future years will be insufficient to support current library operations.

Property values on Lopez are increasing. Why isn’t this enough to fund the library without a lid lift?

State law limits tax levy fund increases to 1 percent plus new construction per year. As a result, the library tax levy fund increases about 1.5 percent per year. With inflation currently at 3 percent per year, library expenses are outpacing tax revenue.

How much will the levy lift be?

The current effective library levy is approximately $39 a year per $100,000 of property valuation. The proposed rate is $48 per $100,000. For a $400,000 property, taxes would increase by $36 per year.

How will the money be used?

Funds will be used to:

• Keep the awarding-winning Lopez Library a vital part of the Lopez Island community by supporting library staff, operations and maintenance.

• Open the library on Sunday for limited hours.

• Upgrade the library to be more energy efficient with improved insulation, more efficient lighting, heating, cooling and alternate energy sources.

How do the 2019 San Juan County library levy amounts compare?

• Lopez, $448,357.

• Orcas, $912,834.

• San Juan, $1,383,364.

Orcas collects over two times more and San Juan over three times more than Lopez.

What is the 2019 Lopez Library budget?

$485,940; additional state funds, library fees, grants and generous support from the Lopez community make up the $37,583 difference between library tax levy fund and the library budget.

How does the library spend its budget?

• Salary and Benefits, 68 percent.

• Library Operations, 18.1 percent.

• Collection, 9.2 percent.

• Library Programs, 2.7 percent (Funded by Friends of the Lopez Island Library).

• Capital Reserves, 2 percent.

What will happen if the Levy Lift doesn’t pass?

Library services will need to be reduced. These could include:

• Fewer new books and videos.

• Fewer open hours.

• Less staff.

If the levy lift passes, when will the library need another lift?

If inflation is at 3 percent per year and the library tax levy fund grows at 1 percent, not before 2027.