Your Support Has Helped Us Preserve a Path to Stable Library Funding
The latter part of December and beginning of January were a very busy time for all those involved in and supporters of Library funding. In mid-December, Multnomah County Chair Cogen announced that he and the county commissioners were going to refer a measure on the May election for a Library levy at the existing $0.89 tax rate. This rate is equal to the existing rate of the expiring levy. This was a surprise to the Library support organizations including the Friends. The funding provided by a levy at $0.89 will not support the existing services and staffing of our Library – it means cuts to both.
The Friends responded with a campaign to encourage the public to contact the commissioners and request that they reconsider this proposal. The Friends and public responded via email, phone calls and attending a commissioners board meeting on December 22. Chair Cogen and the commissioners listened to our voices and met with the Friends and other Library supporters. A second proposal was crafted which is not perfect by any means, but provides a shorter path to our goal of stable, long term funding for our Library. The second proposal includes the referral of a $0.89 levy in May but also includes a resolution by the commissioners that if the levy passes in May, they will refer a library district on the November 2012 ballot. This change means that the library will still be forced to reduce staff and services for one year as, if they both pass, full funding would not be restored until July, 2013. The May levy must also pass in order for the district measure to be placed on the November ballot.
The Two-Part Plan to Save Our Library
The commissioners approved this final proposal at their January 5 board meeting. The room was packed with library supporters. The details of the final proposal are as follows:
This will be a two-step process.
- A 3 year $.89 local option renewal in May 2012
- District Ballot Measure November 2012
The First Step is A Levy Campaign for May 2012
Summary of a 3 year levy @ $0.89 cents:
- The county would maintain its current ongoing general fund commitment to the library - including yearly increases for inflation
- ALL library branches would remain open, albeit with reduced hours
- ALL outreach services would be maintained
- $10M in one-time-only funds would be transferred to the library at the outset to buy back hours over the life of the levy
- Cuts would amount to approximately 10% (compared to 66% if the ballot measure fails)
The Second Step Is A District Campaign in November 2012
The board's resolution will include language committing the board to referring a district to the November 2014 ballot.
We Need Your Help For Both Steps to Save Our Library
We have a long 2-campaign year ahead of us, but we have our target in sight – a library district to secure stable, permanent funding for our Library! We will need help from many volunteers to help us reach and educate voters. I hope everyone will join me in working to support and secure our Library’s future!
Donate to Support the Library Campaign and the Friends
Donations for the Library campaign can be sent to:
Donations to the Friends can be made on our website.
Volunteer to Support the Library Campaign
Thank you for your support!