Camano Island library bond falling just short

CAMANO ISLAND — Most people on this island want a public library, but early returns show that not enough voters are backing a bond measure to fund a permanent Camano Island Library run by Sno-Isle Libraries.

Proposition 1 asked if a special taxing district should be formed, requiring a simple majority. Voters favored the idea by about 60 percent, or 3,037 votes. Proposition 2 asked voters if a $2.3 million bond should be issued, requiring a 60 percent supermajority. Right now, the measure is failing by little more than 100 votes with 2,938, or only about 58 percent voting for the bond issue.

If the bond goes on to defeat, the Sno-Isle Libraries Board will have to decide how best to serve Camano Island library patrons and whether the temporary library there would continue.

It’s too early to call it, said Sno-Isle spokesman Ken Harvey.

“People working for the library propositions on the island tell us that there was a great deal of support for the library and that many people don’t mail their ballots right away,” Harvey said. “So we think it’s a good first return and we are hopeful the library gets a full 60 percent ‘yes’ vote.”

Camano Island’s pilot library, a project of Sno-Isle Libraries, has been serving people on the island since 2007 in a 1,800-square-foot store front at Terry’s Corner.

Taxes to support construction would be levied for a 10-year period, costing about 9 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value or about $22.50 a year for the owner of a $250,000 home. Property tax collection for the library project would begin in 2014, the same time as construction.

A new 5,000-square-foot library would be located at the site of the former Islander Restaurant at Terry’s Corner and open in early 2015. With more space than the current storefront, the library would provide room for additional popular books, movies, CDs, a larger area to drop off and pick up reserved library materials and media titles, an area for children’s activities, comfortable and quiet seating areas and additional computers for public use, Harvey said.

A survey commissioned by Sno-Isle showed that two-thirds of Camano’s population of 15,600 people use the library and that most of those people want a bigger, permanent library.

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