More about re-authorized levy rate
In the Sept. 19, 2006 primary election, by a 56 percent approval, voters supported Proposition 1, to re-authorize the Library System’s levy rate to 48 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value in 2007. That is an 8 cent increase from the Library’s current levy rate of 40 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value.
Additional Hours with Re-authorized Levy Rate >>
What would Re-authorizing Levy Rate do for other Library branches? >>
- Under state law, the Library is an independent municipal corporation and an independent taxing district, mostly funded from a separate property tax levy, which is 95 percent of the Library System's funding.
- The law allows the Library to receive property taxes for up to 50 cents per every $1,000 in assessed existing property in the area the Library serves.
With a limit of 1 percent more in taxes than the previous year, the Library predicts the gap between the amount of revenues the Library could receive and costs to operate the libraries is expected to continue to widen.
Costs to operate the libraries are expected to increase at about 5-6 percent a year, while revenues are expected to increase by 3-4 percent a year.
Since 2002, the Library cut more than $1 million in operations and services.
The Library’s Board of Trustees determined the Library has not kept up with needs created by a 49 percent population growth in the Library System’s service area since 1996. In 2006, 509,000 people lived in Pierce County Library’s service area.
The Library System lags behind nearly every other like-size library in Western Washington for important library services.
- A state law, established in 2002, limits property tax increases to no more than 1 percent more than the amount collected the previous year.
- In 2002, the Library received 48 cents per every $1,000 in assessed property.
- In 2005, the Library received 45.6 cents per every $1,000 in assessed property.
- In 2006, the Library will receive 40 cents per every $1,000 in assessed property.
The Board of Trustees passed a resolution to place a proposition to re-authorize the Library’s levy rate on the September 2006 primary ballot to restore library funding to 48 cents per every $1,000 in assessed property to meet the needs of growing and changing communities.
In 2006, taxpayers paid 40 cents for every $1,000 in assessed property for library services. On average, homeowners paid $90 in 2006 for library services.
Restoring library funding to 48 cents per $1,000 of assessed property would cost the average home assessed at $244,000 an increase of $27 for one year - 2007 - for a total of $117.
The board did not propose to increase the tax level by the full amount allowed by law. The board responded to the need to provide library services for growing and changing communities, while balancing a reasonable tax level for property owners.
Recently, voters passed measures to increase taxes for library services in King, Snohomish, Island and Spokane counties, as well as a number of fire districts in Pierce County.
- Since August 2005, the Library System asked people what library services they valued, wanted and needed. Nearly 3,000 people provided comments.
- Re-authorizing the Library’s levy rate will provide the following services for growing and changing communities:
- Expanded open hours. The Library System will increase open hours by
20 percent, open all libraries on Monday during the day and evenings, open nine libraries on Sundays, and open six libraries on Thursday evenings.
- Wider variety of books, CDs and other materials. The Library will cut the time people wait for popular books and increase the variety of books, CDs and other materials.
- Added services for kids and teenagers. The Library will add services for kids and teenagers to help them read, do homework and be successful in school.
- Upgraded services and technology for customers. The Library System will add computer terminals with Internet access for customers and offer free computer classes for adults.