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Langley residents mistakenly sent Sno-Isle ballots

Sometimes every vote doesn't count.

That's the case with 334 absentee ballots sent to Langley residents last week for a Sno-Isle Library system levy vote. They were ballots city residents neither needed, nor can the count toward a Feb. 4 special election.

Unlike most of Sno-Isle's other libraries, Langley's library is funded with money taken from the city's general fund. The city will pay the library system about $18,000 this year to provide library services and will put a total of about $37,000 total into keeping the library open. Because this money is taken out of the city's property tax levy, city residents do not pay on a library levy, as the rest of Island County's residents do.

Island County Auditor Suzanne Sinclair said this week that those who have already sent their ballots in need not worry that they will be confused with any sent to to Langley. She said her office will be able sort legitimate ballots from those sent in error to city residents.

But for Langley residents who haven't filled out the ballots, Sinclair advises "just tear them up. They won't count anyway."

The ballot measure, Sno-Isle Library District Proposition 1, is a proposal to raise the library system's levy rate back to the pre-Initiative 747 millage. If approved, an additional $2.4 million will be generated from property taxes for library services in 2004. However, the levy rate would only be in effect for one year. In 2005 and subsequent years the rate would again likely drop.

The measure, if approved, is expected to increase property taxes by roughly $12 for the owner of a $200,000 home. The current rate is 44 cents per $1,000 of property value; the ballot measure proposes a rate of 50 cents.

The Sno-Isle levy request will be the only item on the Feb. 4 ballot for Island County voters.

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