Libraries and Stanwood city seek annexation

STANWOOD — The city and Sno-Isle Libraries are asking voters to guarantee library funding and free up dollars for road repairs by establishing a new property tax.

Proposition No. 1 on Stanwood voters’ general election ballots would annex the city into the Sno-Isle Intercounty Rural Library District. This means property owners would pay a new tax directly to Sno-Isle for library operations. The city currently pays Sno-Isle about $290,000 per year out of its tax-based general fund to run the library at 9701 271st St. NW.

If Stanwood annexes into Sno-Isle, the new tax would be 50 cents per $1,000 assessed property value, and city taxes would drop 11 cents per $1,000. Overall, property owners would pay 39 cents more per $1,000 assessed value than they do now, based on 2014 tax rates. That’s about $97.50 on a $250,000 home.

Stanwood-area residents who live outside city limits already pay the 50 cents per $1,000 assessed property value for library services.

The city expects it would save nearly $220,000, after a decreased city tax rate is factored in with cutting the annual Sno-Isle payment. Most of the money — about 75 percent of it — would go to road repair and maintenance, making up for stagnant gas tax revenues as vehicles become more fuel efficient.

The remaining quarter of the city’s savings would help pay Stanwood’s police contract with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office. The city anticipates that contract costs will increase in the next few years.

If a simple majority of voters approve the annexation, it would take effect Jan. 1, 2016.

Eighteen cities and towns in Snohomish and Island counties have annexed into the library district.

Langley, Sultan, Lake Stevens, Darrington, Lynnwood and Mill Creek annexed within the past 10 years.

Kari Bray: kbray@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3439

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