Libraries are heart of community, deserve support

Editor,

People on Whidbey Island know how valuable our libraries are to our communities. We have access to the resources of a library system that serves over 750,000 people without losing the benefits of a small local library with smart, friendly people to help us find what we need. I am asking you to help maintain our outstanding library service by voting yes to support our libraries on April 24.

Sno-Isle Libraries receives 98 percent of its operations budget from a property tax levy. But while local property values are going up, the revenue Sno-Isle receives from the levy is capped by state law at a 1 percent annual increase — unless voters approve a levy increase.

Unfortunately, state law doesn’t cap Sno-Isle’s expenses at 1 percent growth a year. Salaries, improved technology, health care and costs of other resources are growing much faster than 1 percent per year.

The funds available to Sno-Isle from the 9-cent operations levy increase approved by voters in 2009 have run out. If the April 24 ballot measure fails, Sno-Isle will have to cut services to all of its libraries by cutting open hours, cutting the budget for new materials, and a variety of cuts in children’s programs, classes for teens and adults, community forums and other services.

Our libraries are at the heart of our communities here on Whidbey. They deserve our support. Please vote yes for Libraries on April 24.

Duane Fulgham

Clinton

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