|Costs to operate and maintain library services and libraries are increasing at a faster and higher rate than revenues.
In recent years, costs have increased by an average rate of 4-7 percent a year, while property tax revenues have increased at an average rate of 1-3 percent. Property taxes make up approximately 94 percent of Pierce County Library’s revenue.
State law limits local governments, including Pierce County Library, to an increase in property taxes of no more than 1 percent plus property taxes from new construction each year.
In 2006 voters passed the only restored levy in the 72-year history of the Library System.
The Library System has met or surpassed all levy promises with funding that was projected to maintain services for up to six years. The Library has stretched that funding for 12 years.
Since 2006 the Library’s service area population (2006: 518,000; 2017: 600,000) and the number of people with Pierce County Library cards increased (2006: 198,000; 2017: 323,000).
Demand for library services increased.
Since 2009 to manage its budget, the Library System eliminated, reduced, streamlined or did not offer services and deferred maintenance totaling $20 million.
The majority of the library buildings are more than 25 years old and receive more than 2 million visits every year.
To manage its budget, the Library has limited maintenance. In the next five years, 15 of 20 library buildings require maintenance:
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