Marysville News

Library seeks levy to support programs, restore hours

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The Marysville Public Library will ask voters to approve a 1.5-mill levy in November that officials say would maintain programs and services and allow the library to restore hours that were cut because of a lack of funding.

Director Ryan McDonnell said the current five-year levy expires Dec 31.

McDonnell said the existing 1-mill levy began in 2004 and was replaced in 2009. It is currently being collected at a rate of 0.983 mills, he said, and costs $34.44 annually per $100,000 of home valuation.

The replacement levy of 1.5 mills would raise that to $52.50 a year.

More than half of the library's funding -- 54 percent -- comes from the levy. The remaining 46 percent comes from the state.

"Passing this levy will restore Sunday hours. That's one of the big things the board wanted," said Denise Birkhoff, head of Patron Services.

The Marysville school district is placing the levy on the ballot because it is the taxing authority for the library.

McDonnell and Birkhoff said this has caused confusion in the past because voters see the district's name attached and think the schools are asking for money.

"The school district is our taxing authority. That's our service area. So they put it on the ballot but it's actually a library levy," McDonnell said.

"The very first time we tried to get a levy, it was a permanent levy and it failed," Birkhoff said.

McDonnell said a group of volunteers has formed a political action committee (PAC) called Support Your Library that has been "meeting for months to understand what the library's needs are and do whatever they can to help inform the public about the levy."

The PAC has a Facebook page as well as a website, www.supportyourlibrary.org.

"Funding from this levy won't actually be received by the library until January 2015," McDonnell said. "I think we've done a lot to inform the public about how we're funded and what we use our resources for.

"We have been very committed to being good stewards of public funds and really worked hard to provide as much services as we can with limited resources.

"We want to make as much information available to our patrons as possible so they can make informed decisions," he said.

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