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Commissioners support library levy

The Clallam County commissioners passed a resolution Tuesday, July 13, in support of the library levy lift.

During the public comment period Jim Roberts, of Sequim, told the commissioners that libraries are especially important during times of economic hardships.

"Our libraries are used by everyone no matter what their age, economic status or interests," he said.

Library checkouts and renewals have increased 33 percent since 2008 and library rooms available to community groups are used by 1,100 people countywide, he said.

The levy request was made to ensure the libraries remain viable, he said.

In 1978 the library levy rate was 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed property valuation. But a change in Washington law in 2001 lowered it to 33 cents, which proponents claim doesn’t cut it.

But Bob Leonard of Sequim thinks 33 cents is enough.

"To ask for a 50-percent increase...is almost an insult during these economic times," he said.

Leonard said that while he is a supporter of the library, he thinks more should be done to recruit volunteers and make services more efficient.

"I would normally be on the side of supporting the library, but a 50-percent increase won’t make them more efficient," he said.

County Commissioner Steve Tharinger pointed out that for an owner of a $200,000 house the cost would be only $40.

"Obviously this is a difficult time," he said. "But the question comes: What kind of community do you want?"

County Commissioner Mike Chapman said he thinks putting the levy before voters is an appropriate process to take.

"They appreciate being asked before we cut their services," he said.

The library has cut back two weeks of service this year through furloughs and will cut more next year if the levy doesn't pass, library trustee Don Zanon said at the meeting.



Amanda Winters can be reached at awinters@sequimgazette.com.

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