Sequim Library expansion proposition falls short

A proposal to expand a building that library officials say is too small and in need of an upgrade fell just short in Tuesday night’s general election.

The majority of residents in Sequim and surrounding areas voted for the North Olympic Library System’s $12.4 million bond proposal to expand the Sequim Library, but not enough to meet the supermajority 60 percent threshold.

Proposition 2 garnered 7,143 votes or 58 percent, to 5,166 votes or 41.8 percent against the measure.

The proposal would pay for enlargement of the 1983 Sequim Library building from 6,050 square feet to 17,000 square feet.

Residents needed to approve two library system proposals, but voters only approved Proposition No. 1 (7, 961 votes or 64.8 percent in favor to 4,313 votes or 35.14 percent against) that creates the Sequim Library Capital Facilities Area tax district, roughly the same boundaries as Sequim School District.

Paula Barnes, campaign steering committee member, said obtaining 60 percent approval for the bond measure is a challenging threshold to reach.

“We’re very grateful to the voters who showed their support for the library by forming the tax district,” Barnes said.

“We’re sad the vote for the bond issue is so close, and right now it’s not close enough.”

Barnes said she has some hope for the ballots and votes still coming but is proud of all the effort the campaign and volunteers put into getting the word out to the community.

“We had so many dedicated and hard-working volunteers,” she said. “I can’t think of anything more we could have done to get the word out.”

NOLS Library Director Margaret Jakubcin was not available for comment on Tuesday night.

The new Sequim Library expansion would have cost $13.4 million, with $1 million coming from library system reserves and the rest coming from tax levies and bonds that are paid off over the next 21 years.

The expansion would have cost tax payers a little less than $5 per month (for owners of properties with an assessed value of $250,000).

Jakubcin said previously that efforts to expand the Sequim Library has been a long-standing community conversation.

“I think the need is pretty well understood,” Jakubcin said.

“A big part of our effort is educating people about the fact that the (Sequim) library is too small,” Barnes said during the campaign.

For more information about the library system, see www.nols.org.

See the campaign website at www.sequimlibraryvoteyes.org.

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