Kitsap Regional Library planning potential property tax levy for November

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND — Officials with Kitsap Regional Library are exploring the idea of sending a property tax increase to voters later this year to raise more money for the county’s library system.

The library district last increased its levy in 2003; an attempt in 2010 to raise the district’s property tax levy rate to 48 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value was shot down by voters with a 56 percent “no” vote.

Officials said the actual amount of the proposed levy increase has not yet been set, but they hope to create a plan that will cover the library district’s budget needs for the next five to 10 years.

The current levy is 35 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

Library officials have been hosting one-on-one meetings with community leaders across Kitsap County since the start of the year, gauging support for putting the measure on the November General Election ballot.

The library’s board of trustees is scheduled to take up the levy in July, with a possible board vote on July 25.

A public information campaign has been planned for a July kickoff, according to the district’s 2017 communications plan.

Library officials face an Aug. 1 deadline to pass a resolution calling for the tax increase to be placed on the Nov. 7 ballot.

“We are doing as much research — and working with our community — as much as possible,” said Mark Hughes, spokesman for Kitsap Regional Library.

“We want to be very respectful of our community and only ask for enough to be fiscally responsible and smart with our resources,” he said.

District officials said the levy could help provide money for extending hours at some branches, including reopening on Sundays.

Levy funds would be used for maintenance and operations, officials said, and would not be spent on new buildings.