Spokane County Library District proposes tax increase

The primary election is Tuesday, but you aren’t just voting for a new mayor or that open City Council position — there are several measures on each ballot, one of which will help keep some of your favorite libraries open.

“We receive about a one percent increase in our revenue every year, but the challenge for us right now is the cost of doing business at our libraries is outpacing that one percent,” Executive Director Patrick Roewe said. “So we’re reaching a point where we’re going to have to make cuts to facilities, hours, and materials if we don’t see funding restored.”

Right now, county residents are paying 43 cents per thousand of assessed value. If the proposal is approved, the levy takes that to 50 cents per thousand of assessed value.

Meaning, on a $235,000 home, you’ll pay about $16.45 more per year.

It’s also important to remember this levy is for the 11 libraries in Spokane County’s library district.
This does not include the city library in downtown Spokane.

“We had 1.3 million people come through our doors last year, and we circulated 2.3 million items so it’s really critical for these funds to be able to maintain those services and have that educational impact on all of our communities,” Roewe said. He alleges that without more money, cuts are inevitable in a matter of a year or two.

The possibility of closing any library is enough to get Jennifer Shaw’s vote, a lifelong resident of Spokane who goes to the library often. She also said it is even more important as her daughter grows up.

“My daughter’s one, she’ll be two soon, and she loves to play dress up, and she loves books,” Shaw said. “It would be one good thing for her.”