Sno-Isle Libraries levy goes from trailing to just passing

For now, the two-county ballot measure is passing, 50.2 percent to 49.8 percent.

MARYSVILLE — Another batch of ballots counted Wednesday has improved the odds that a two-county library levy will pass.

Sno-Isle Libraries asked voters to consider a property tax increase to maintain existing programs. The measure trailed Tuesday night but eked past the 50 percent simple majority requirement Wednesday. The outcome remains uncertain. For now, it is passing 50.2 percent to 49.8 percent. The next release of results is expected by 5 p.m. Thursday.

In Snohomish County, the “yes” vote stands at 47.6 percent.

Support for the measure in Island County, where there are fewer voters, is strong with a 61.7 percent “yes” vote.

“It’s still too close to call, but we are feeling better about the current vote count,” Sno-Isle Libraries Director Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory said.

“We will wait to see the counts in coming days and better understand from the county auditors how many votes remain to be processed,” Woolf-Ivory said

The library measure called for adding 9 cents to the current library property tax levy. If it does pass, the levy rate in 2019 would be 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.

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

That would require cuts to personnel and materials and likely mean a reduction in hours and fewer library services.

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.

Also Wednesday, results showed a school levy in the Darrington School District was well on the way to passing.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; stevick@heraldnet.com

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