Don’t turn the page yet on library election

The book is not closed on the library election.

The library measure was ahead 50.2 percent to 49.8 percent Thursday after trailing 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent election night.

“It’s still too close to call, but we are feeling better about the current vote count,” Sno-Isle Libraries director Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory said Thursday.

More ballots will be counted in the coming days with certification May 4.

Support was much better is Island County, with almost 62 percent in favor, compared with Snohomish County, at almost 48 percent. The ballot measure called for adding 9 cents to the current library property tax levy. If it does pass, the levy rate in 2019 would be 47 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. If the measure doesn’t pass, the existing levy would continue.

However, revenue wouldn’t meet the rising costs of maintaining services and the budget would be reduced starting in 2019.

Sno-Isle Libraries receives 98 percent of its funding from a property-tax levy across most of Snohomish and all of Island counties.

Sno-Isle leaders were projecting $2 million in cuts for 2019 if the levy failed and additional reductions in 2020 and subsequent years.

That would require cuts to personnel and materials and likely mean a reduction in hours and fewer library services. But for now, Woolf-Ivory wants to wait on the election results before thinking about any of that. “We need to wait and see what the outcome of this election is before deciding on next steps,” she said.

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