Yelm Community Blog

TIMBERLAND LIBARY FACING CHALLENGES

YELM AREA PROPERTY OWNERS TO BE IMPACTED BY LIBRARY NEEDS

Yelm Timberland Regional Library
Photo courtesy of Yelm-based photographer Guustaaf Damave

“The Timberland Regional Library Board of Trustees may go to the voters seeking a levy lid lift.

Its either that or face cutting services, according to Timberland officials.

Weve been very aware since 2001, said Jodi Reng, Executive Director. We knew wed have to cut back or go to the voters.

In the 40 years Timberland Regional Library has served the public, it has never asked the voters to increase its levy rate.

Approximately 80 percent of Timberlands revenues come from property taxes.

Since its passage in 2001, Initiative 747 has impacted Timberland by limiting the annual tax increase to 1 percent. A greater increase must be approved by voters.

The levy limit has resulted in the library levy rate dropping from 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed property valuation to 34.5 cents per $1,000.

Inflation, 4.5 percent this year, has also hurt Timberland….

At the current service level, the reserve fund will be depleted by 2011…

Timberland provides access to 1.65 million books, DVDs, CDs and other items available in 27 community libraries in five counties; early learning and literacy programs for children and adults; professional reference and information services; public access to computers; and programs for all ages,” quoting the NVN.

The Olympian says,
“Timberland Regional Library, which operates libraries in five southwest Washington counties, is in a tough financial spot a $1.9 million budget shortfall by year’s end.

The library system, which includes libraries in Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater and Yelm, has two equally unappealing choices: raise taxes or cut staff, reduce hours of operations and scale back the book-buying budget.

The ensuing debate will be a referendum on the value people place in library services…

As they contemplate the future and the choices before them, library officials must understand they are proposing a tax increase at a difficult time. The nation is at war and in an economic slide, gasoline costs more than $4 a gallon, and an increasing number of people are turning to food banks and other social services to make ends meet. Asking for a tax increase in this economy is risky business. But so is reducing library services.

If library administrators and trustees opt for the ballot proposition to increase taxes, they must be prepared to convince voters that library services are a key aspect to the quality of life in South Sound. They also must be able to show that they have squeezed every ounce of inefficiency out of the library system, have made appropriate budget cuts and are doing everything they can to live within their budget.”

This levy lid will be added to the requirements to plan, finance and build a new library in a public building in Yelm by 2012, as covered here last March.
Does Yelm want a library beyond 2012? We’re four years from having to move out of the current location and the public has been told nothing of library and city officials’ plans.
Four years is not much time to get going on procuring new land and a building, on top of acquiring public and private financing in this economy!

STAY TUNED!

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