Lopez Island Library levy increase ballot measure

Submitted by Barbara Orcutt, Chair, Friends of the Lopez Island Library

The Lopez Island Library is a great asset to our home island. Although it has the smallest budget of the San Juan Island libraries, it has always been outstanding in its collection, services and community involvement. Its superlatives include:

– Highest circulation per capita in the state.

– Highest attendance per capita in the state.

– Ninth consecutive year recognized as a Star Library by the Library Journal, as being one of only four state libraries to achieve this distinction. Lopez Island Library shares this honor with such outstanding libraries as the Seattle Public Library and the King County Library.

The current Lopez Island Library District Levy rate, approved in 2006, is $0.39 per $1,000 of property valuation. The resulting Lopez Island tax revenues in 2019 were approximately one-half the amount available to the Orcas Island Library and approximately one-third the level available to the San Juan Island Library. Clearly, the Lopez Island Library has delivered considerable bang for the buck.

After 13 years at the same levy rate, inflation and state levy laws have made tax receipts insufficient to operate and maintain the Library at current service levels. As a result, the Lopez Island Library Board of Trustees submitted a November 2019 ballot measure to increase the library levy rate to $0.48 per $1,000 of property valuation. For a $400,000 valued property, the change would mean an annual tax increase of $36.

Increasing the Library Levy rate will:

– Continue the high standard of Library services delivery

– Allow consideration of user requests for Sunday open hours

– Support appropriate maintenance of the facility and anticipated alterations to the interior configuration that will improve the usefulness of the Library space

– Update the historic Library building for greater energy efficiency and explore alternative energy sources.

The Friends of the Lopez Island Library enthusiastically recommend the Lopez Library Levy rate increase and urge Lopez Island voters to approve the Lopez Island Library District Proposition No. 2-2019 ballot measure.