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Library bond vote set for May 20
ARLINGTON With the Arlington Library election coming up May 20, residents of the city of Arlington and the Arlington School District will soon receive information on the proposed new library.
Residents of the city and most of the school district will actually be voting on two measures this year: whether to form an independent taxing authority and district, called a Library Capital Facility Area, and whether to approve an $8.8 million bond to fund a new library for the Arlington community.
Mary Kelly, community relations director for the Sno-Isle Libraries, explained the reasons for voting on an LCFA this year.
"By state law, once a bond measure has failed twice, a capital facility area has to be reformed," Kelly said. "It can be a bit confusing, but both the capital facility area and the bond have to be passed for Arlington to get a new library."
ASD voters had previously approved the formation of an Arlington LCFA within the boundaries of the school district, east of I-5 and south to 164th Street, in 2000.
Kelly noted that the property taxes to fund the 20-year Arlington Library bond would be in addition to the taxes currently being collected in support of the Sno-Isle Libraries. She added that the ballot does not explicitly state this.
"We've only gotten a few questions about that, but we always try to clarify it," Kelly said. "The county prosecutor ultimately determines the language of the ballots, but this is the same language we've used on all our capital facility area ballot measures."
If passed, the bond measure would begin collecting property taxes in 2009, at a rate of approximately 14 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. This would amount to $42 a year on a house valued at $300,000, or $56 a year on a house valued at $400,000.
At the April 15 "Business After Hours" at the current Arlington Library, supporters of the bond measure shared their plans for passing it.
John Peeters from Penway Printers is donating his time to the bond campaign. He explained that the Arlington Library Bond Committee would be sending out a series of increasingly focused mail pamphlets and postcards to the community.
"We'll be sending out a general mailing around the start of May," Peeters said. "But we'll be targeting the 'yes' votes more with each wave. We'll send out more mailers in a couple of weeks and a couple of days before the election day. We'll just hope there's no flood this time," he laughed.
Dick Post, a member of the Arlington Library Bond Committee, pointed to the narrow margin of 28 votes by which the bond measure lost in the last election, and listed the ways in which he sees the library as being more essential than ever to the community.
"It's amazing to see people come in here and plug in their laptops," Post said. "There's a variety of media that's never been available before in my lifetime, and we need library facilities that will accommodate it. The numbers of people who use this library are also amazing. It's grown so rapidly. As for the cost, most people pay around $42 every time they fill up the tank of their car."
"It's so crowded that I avoid using it at certain times of the day," said Leslie Wargo, a library patron.
George Boulton, chair of the Arlington Library Bond Committee, encouraged people to visit the Monroe Library, to see what sort of facility the bond would bring.
"I will personally conduct tours," Boulton said. "I can fit five people in my car, and they won't even have to pay gas money."