It appears voters have approved the Sno-Isle Libraries levy

The two-county measure is passing, 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent — a widening margin.

EVERETT — It’s close, but Sno-Isle Libraries is poised to get its levy increase.

Passage of a measure to boost the levy in the two-county library system appeared certain Thursday following another tally of ballots.

It is leading by a margin of 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent with the next release of results expected Friday afternoon.

Overall, there are 60,234 “yes” votes and 59,243 “no” votes, a difference of 991. There doesn’t appear to be many ballots left to count. Snohomish County election officials Thursday reported only having five ballots to tally.

Nonetheless, Sno-Isle Libraries Director Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory wasn’t ready to declare victory.

“While the numbers are still very close, the margin is widening,” Woolf-Ivory said. “Given the number of ballots that election officials say remain to be counted, we are cautiously optimistic about the outcome.”

This has been a nail-biter of an election.

On Tuesday, the measure was losing. Support edged up to 50.2 percent with Wednesday’s ballot count and climbed a tad higher Thursday.

Voters in the two counties have different attitudes on the measure.

Snohomish County, which has the majority of voters, is turning it down. The “yes” vote stands at 48 percent which is a slight improvement from Election Night.

It is strongly backed in Island County, where the measure is passing with 61.7 percent of the vote.

If the results hold, the measure will add 9 cents to the current library property tax levy in 2019. It will increase the levy rate to 47 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. The 9-cent increase would cost the owner of a $300,000 home $27 more a year.

Sno-Isle Libraries receives 98 percent of its funding from a property-tax levy across most of Snohomish and all of Island counties. The district does not include Everett, which has its own library system.

Voters last approved a levy increase in 2009. Library officials pledged then to not seek another rate hike for at least five years. Stretching that pledge to nine years came by way of careful planning and prudent budgeting, Woolf-Ivory said.

“We will continue with that same thoughtful approach to our stewardship of public funds,” Woolf-Ivory said. “We know that voting for property taxes is tough. This is a very close election and we’re mindful of the feelings and concerns of those who didn’t vote ‘yes.’ ”

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

Sno-Isle Libraries operates nearly two dozen community libraries, bookmobile, outreach and online services available to more than 743,000 people across Snohomish and Island counties. More than 476,000 library cardholders use a variety of services annually.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@herald Twitter: @dospueblos.

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