South County Politics: Monday registration deadline for April 24 library levy, voters’ pamphlet statements

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Monday, March 26, is the deadline for voters to register on line or by mail for the April 24 Sno-Isle Library election or for previously registered Washington voters to file a change of address.

New Washington voters can register through April 16, but after Monday, March 26, they must register in person at the Snohomish County auditor’s office in Everett.

Voters can register online or update existing registrations at www.sos.wa.gov/elections/myvote/.

Mail registration forms are available at the auditor’s office, at any local library or at some other government offices. Forms also are available on line at www.sos.wa.gov/elections/Print-Voter-Registration-Forms.aspx.

Voters who register by mail need to send their forms in time to get a March 26 postmark. That means being aware of pick-up times at local post offices.

In-person registration is at Snohomish County Elections, County Auditor’s office, 3000 Rockefeller Ave., Everett, First Floor, Administration Building West.

Voters in Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Brier and unincorporated areas of Snohomish County will vote in the April 24 special election on a levy for the Sno-Isle Library District, along with voters in most Snohomish County cities and all of Island County. Woodway is not part of the Sno-Isle Library District.

Ballot drop boxes in Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, and in 13 other places around Snohomish County have been open since Friday, March 23, when military and overseas ballots were mailed.

Ballots to most voters will be sent April 5.

Voters’ Pamphlet material will go out with those ballots. Here’s a preview of what will be in that voters’ pamphlet. (Note– We hope to present our own pro-con- statements in early April.):

Voters’ Pamphlet material for Special Election

April 24, 2018

Sno-Isle Intercounty Rural Library District

Proposition No. 1 — Levy Rate Proposition

The Board of Trustees of Sno-Isle Intercounty Rural Library District adopted Resolution No. 17-06 concerning an increase in its regular property tax levy. This proposition would authorize the District to restore its regular property tax levy rate to $0.47 per $1,000 of assessed value for collection in 2019 in order to continue to provide the current level of library service throughout the District. The resulting dollar amount of the 2019 levy would be used for the purpose of computing subsequent levy limitations as provided by chapter 84.55 RCW.

Should this proposition be approved?

Yes __

No ___

Ballot title approved by the Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (January 12, 2018).

Explanatory statement:

This proposition will enable the Sno-Isle Intercounty Rural Library District (“Sno-Isle Libraries” or the “Library District”) to maintain the present level of library services and collections throughout the Library District by restoring the Library District’s regular property tax levy rate to 47 cents per $1,000 of assessed value for collection in 2019.

If approved by the voters, Proposition 1 would enable Sno-lsle Libraries to maintain the current level of services, programs, resources and existing hours of operation for all 23 of its community libraries, online services and Library on Wheels. The measure will increase the Library District’s levy rate by 9 cents per $1,000 of assessed value for collection in 2019, or approximately $27 per year on a $300,000 home (about $2.25 more per month). The resulting levy amount would then be used to calculate the statutory limitations on future levy increases for 2020 and thereafter.

Rejection of this proposal would mean Sno-Isle Libraries would collect approximately $2 million less than needed to maintain existing library services, materials and open hours in 2019, resulting in cuts in open hours, staff positions, books and other materials and/or equipment.

Pro Statement:

At the heart of every community is a library-serving families, kids and seniors in our growing region. Libraries are community anchors that inspire, educate and motivate. This measure supports programs and operations at 23 libraries throughout Snohomish and Island counties.

With your vote, this measure will protect popular library services and hours, including:

*   Early literacy programs that prepare children for kindergarten and a lifelong love of reading

*   Acquisition of popular, high-demand books, DVDs and other materials

*   School-age and teen programs, including after school study hours

*   Bookmobile services for seniors, military families, and those unable to visit a library

*   Access to technology learning for all ages

*   Dedicated services for small business owners

*   Cultural and educational programs for all!

This levy provides 98% of the funding for daily operations. Your YES vote will restore, not add to, the levy rate approved by voters in 2009. At that time, Sno-isle promised to make levy funding last five years. Now after nine years, the library system can no longer stretch available funds to cover the current level of service as our population-and library use-grows.

This modest investment, less than $8/ month for a typical household, is endorsed by Mayors, school district leaders, community and business leaders, friends and neighbors throughout our region.

Please vote YES for our libraries.

Pro committee members: Terry Lippincott, Stephanie Wright, and Bob Drewel

Con Statement:

Sno-Isle is asking to raise your share of their operating costs by 21% for 2019.  Ignoring the rising assessed values of homes each year, Sno-Isle’s proposal is an absolute increase in taxpayer contributions of over 50% going back to just 2013.

To be clear, we are not anti-Library nor are we advocating removal of current funding.  We are simply asking Sno-Isle to manage their costs much like many of their patrons; by adhering to a budget and being fiscally responsible.  With rising property taxes (more than 16% average across Snohomish County alone), out-of-control car licensing fees, and recently tolled highways, the average voter has been forced to routinely cover the costs of a myriad of projects with little to no benefit.

Say “NO” to Sno-Isle Levy Rate Proposition #1 to send a message that voters expect and demand prudent fiscal behavior from those with the privilege of being supported by our hard-earned dollars.

The explanatory statement calls out that rejection of this proposition would result in a 2-million-dollar shortfall in providing services; ask yourself why costs are expected to climb that much for 2019 or how we are already operating in the red for the current year.  The numbers don’t add up; it’s not the average homeowners’ responsibility to get Sno-Isle’s house in order.

Say “NO” to Sno-Isle Levy Rate Proposition #1

Pro committee rebuttal of con statement:

Opponents’ use of misleading statistics is unfair to voters. Our libraries are governed with independent citizen oversight and made good on the promise to stretch funding approved in 2009 over 9 years, rather than the standard 5 years.

The levy restores the 2009 rate, maintaining accountability and core library services. Out of respect for you, the taxpayer, our libraries didn’t ask for support until needed. Now it’s our turn to help maintain these critical community resources.

Con committee rebuttal of pro statement:

FACT: In 2019, Sno-Isle will receive more money than ever before from taxpayers due to rising assessed home values.

This proposition is an additional grab into the wallets of voters hidden behind language minimizing the continuous asks by our leaders for more money.  “Modest investment”, “less than $8/month”, ambiguous reference to all of those in support; this is language that obfuscates facts and instead plays to the inherent emotions of voters.

Vote NO

Con committee members: Caleb McKinney and Ryan Meyer

–By Evan Smith

Evan Smith can be reached at [email protected]

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