Frequently Asked Questions
Kitsap Regional Library Levy Proposition 1 has been approved! Read through frequently asked questions about the Library leading up to the election. Still have questions? We welcome you to contact us below for additional information.
About the Ballot
Why is the Library asking for funding now?
Last year, the Kitsap Regional Library property tax levy provided 91% of the operating funds for the Library, financing all materials, technology and staff. The Library circulates 2.1 million physical and digital items a year to more than 83,000 library cardholders. Library services support the priorities of our community, creating a strong educational foundation that help more residents of Kitsap to live here and work here.
The Kitsap Regional Library Board of Trustees has determined the current level of funding is not enough to afford or offer the present level of service at Kitsap Regional Library. In recent years, the Kitsap Regional Library Foundation and other partner groups have helped bridge this funding gap. Strategic cuts have been made, including elimination of cost of living increases for staff beginning in 2008, salary freezes in 2009 and the elimination of Sunday hours in 2011. Additionally, a number of aging buildings are requiring an increase in maintenance costs. The Library no longer has the resources it needs to continue operating at its current level of service. This levy is critical to provide long-term funds that will sustain library operations and maintain the Library’s quality and quantity of service.
When was the Library’s levy last increased?
The Kitsap Regional Library District was established with the passage of a levy taxing district in 1955. Since 2002, with the enactment initiative 747, the Library has been limited to a 1% yearly increase in funding from property taxes. In that time, the Library has not received a levy lid lift.
What if the Proposition passes?
If the Proposition passes, the Library can continue to support the community’s priorities, providing access to information and educational opportunities for all, to include:
Supporting youth education, preparing our community for tomorrow’s jobs by:
- Increasing support of early development tools and classes for parents, babies and toddlers, preparing them for success in school
- Further investing in afterschool STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) classes for K-12 youth
- Adding internship opportunities for teens in all locations
Increasing physical and digital collections of books and other materials to provide:
- Faster access to popular materials and reduced wait times
- An increased selection of diverse materials
Improving and preserving all Library facilities by:
- Creating more meeting, programming and quiet areas for reading, studying and collaborating
- Investing in up-to-date computers, Wi-Fi, software and technology learning
- Providing additional, comfortable seating and outlets for personal devices
- Addressing routine needs to increasingly aging buildings
Increasing hours of operations by:
- Restoring Sunday hours in 5 locations, including Bainbridge Island, Port Orchard, Poulsbo, Silverdale and Sylvan Way
- Providing more consistent open hours for each location
Aligning salaries, after nine years without cost of living increases, to match the local region and industry
What if the Proposition fails?
Rejection of the proposition would mean that beginning in 2018, Kitsap Regional Library could not continue to support the Kitsap community’s priorities with the same level of services, spaces and programs it currently offers. It would require cutbacks in educational opportunities, services and hours to include:
Every location of Kitsap Regional Library may close one additional day a week
- Kitsap Regional Library has not yet determined which day of the week may be eliminated. If the levy fails, a study will be done to determine which day of the week has the least impact on the community.
Service to neighborhoods that are economically and geographically isolated would be reduced with elimination of bookmobile
- Kitsap Regional Library is analyzing the way we currently provide service to the communities served by the bookmobile. If the levy passes, these areas may receive service in another form, perhaps with smaller, less costly vans. If the levy fails, all services to these areas will be eliminated.
- Home delivery service to individuals with significant barriers to using their Library location will not be impacted.
Further reductions to collections of books, eBooks, audiobooks, movies, music and DVDs
Within 5 years, the closure of one large and one small branch of Kitsap Regional Library
- Every effort is being made to keep all community libraries open. If the levy fails, the Library will begin a study on which locations would be closed and when this may take place. It is not the Library’s intention to dedicate resources to developing this plan until there are no other options and it will be developed carefully and thoughtfully taking into account all the needs of the Kitsap community and the staff of Kitsap Regional Library.
Maintenance of aging facilities in need of repairs and updates may be deferred
How will the ballot appear in the voters pamphlet?
Proposition No. 1
Regular Property Tax Levy Lid Lift for Support of Library Services
The Board of Trustees of Kitsap Regional Library adopted Resolution 2017/04 concerning an increase to its regular property tax levy. This proposition would provide stable funding for the continued operation of public libraries and library services in Kitsap County. The proposition authorizes an increase to the District’s regular property tax levy, currently $0.35 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, to $0.43 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, to be collected in 2018. This levy amount would be used to compute the limitations for subsequent levies as provided by chapter 84.55 RCW.
Should this proposition be approved?
90% of Kitsap Regional Library’s budget is supported with tax dollars. Because of a 1% limitation to the increase in funds that the Library can receive yearly from property taxes, funding has not kept pace with the Library’s basic needs. This proposition is critical to maintain the present level of the services and collections of Kitsap Regional Library.
If approved by voters, Proposition 1 would authorize the Kitsap Regional Library to raise its regular property tax levy by 8 cents per thousand dollars of assessed value for collection in 2018, to 43 cents per thousand dollars of assessed valuation, an amount that is less than the State-authorized levy rate of 50 cents per thousand dollars. The estimated increase for a $300,000 property will be $24 in 2018. The resulting levy would then be used to calculate the 1% limit on future levy increases for 2019 and thereafter.
Approval of this proposition will meet community needs by providing stable, adequate funding for the operations and maintenance of the nine locations of Kitsap Regional Library. It will allow the Library to expand early learning and literacy programs for babies and toddlers and afterschool education for K-12, and provide opportunities in technology learning for kids, teens and adults by maintaining up-to-date computers, Wi-Fi, software and training. Additionally, the Library would be able to restore previously cut Sunday hours and its investment in collections and to increase access and reduce wait times. Levy funds would also be used to address critical maintenance needs of aging facilities, but would not be used for the construction of a library building in Silverdale, which is being constructed with private fundraising dollars.
Rejection of this proposal would mean the Kitsap Regional Library will not be able to maintain its current level of services, spaces and programs in 2018, requiring cutbacks in educational opportunities, a further reduction in the number of days libraries are open, and may also require the eventual closure of one large and one small branch.
Who can vote on this levy issue?
Registered voters of Kitsap County. For information on registering to vote visit the County’s website.
Property values have risen in the last few years. Why doesn’t this address the Library’s need for funding?
Since I-747 in 2001, the library funds are restricted by a 1% increase each year. So even if property taxes increase 3, 5 or even 10% – the library budget from property taxes only increases by 1% yearly.
Support of Proposition 1 would allow the Library to exceed the 1% increase for one year. In the following year, 2019, the 1% restriction would be restored, and would be calculated for the funds received in 2018.
How does the Library use the money it receives now?
Kitsap Regional Library depends on property tax revenue currently at a rate of 35 cents per thousand dollars of assessed property value in Kitsap County, approximately $12.1 million, to provide over 90% of its operating budget. This supports the overall operations and staffing of nine locations and a bookmobile, serving over 261,000 residents of Kitsap County through diverse collections of books, eBooks, DVDs, CDs, 127 public computers and in-home service for over 200 residents with significant barriers to visiting the Library.
Additionally, the library supports the unique educational needs of the Kitsap community with opportunities such as Summer Learning classes and activities for kids, teens and adults, One Book, One Community (a community-wide reading and discussion program), one-on-one career and technology assistance, teen internships and afterschool STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) classes and events for kids K-12⏤supporting the community’s goals in early learning, 21st century skill building and education, workforce readiness and digital literacy.
How does the Library intend to use additional funds?
Passage of Proposition 1 would add approximately $3.43 million to the 2018 operating budget, the majority of which will maintain the present level of the services and collections of Kitsap Regional Library and restore services lost in recent years.
Approximately 33% of this increase is needed to restore Sunday hours at Sylvan Way, Poulsbo, Bainbridge Island, Port Orchard and Silverdale locations, and to provide additional staffing which is currently needed to keep up with usage in all locations. Additionally, over the next five years, approximately 46% yearly will be needed to update facilities, addressing deferred maintenance, bringing technology current and creating spaces that are more flexible, in response to the way our patrons are using the Library today.
A small percentage of the funds, approximately 7% or less than one cent of the increase, will go to expanding programs and services, such as afterschool STEM and early literacy education, services the Library currently provides that are in high demand, and after many conversations with our community and partners, have been identified as priorities for the residents of Kitsap.
In year one, approximately 7% will be dedicated to staffing cost, providing staff with the first cost of living increase in 10 years. By year five, we will have completed a compensation study of all positions and adjusted salaries to regional and industry standards. With the estimated rise in healthcare and salaries, we are projecting that by that fifth year approximately 36% of the budget increase will be dedicated to essential staffing costs. Within five years our spaces will be updated and the decreasing cost of maintaining these spaces will allow us to adjust for the rising cost in staffing.
How much will it cost?
The Library currently depends on property tax revenue at a rate of 35 cents per thousand dollars of assessed property value, approximately $12.1 million, to provide over 90% of its operating budget. Because of a 1% limitation to the increase in funds the Library can receive yearly, funding has not been able to keep pace with the basic needs of the Library. If approved by voters, the proposition would authorize the Kitsap Regional Library to raise its regular property tax levy by 8 cents per thousand dollars of assessed value, adding approximately $3.43 million to the Library’s 2018 operating budget. The estimated increase in 2018 for a $300,000 property is $24. The resulting levy would then be used to calculate the 1% limit on future levy increases for 2019 and thereafter.
Why can’t the Library raise money via a sales tax or other tax?
By state law, library districts like Kitsap Regional Library are only allowed to collect revenue locally via a dedicated property tax.
Are there additional sources of funding for the Library?
The Library would not be able to meet the current demands of our community without the generous help from partners and volunteers. Last year, over 1,588 people volunteered at nine locations, giving over $455,585 worth of time to the Library in more than 15,000 hours. Additionally, the Kitsap Regional Library Foundation, eight Friends of the Library organizations, Bainbridge Public Library, Inc., the cities of Poulsbo, Bremerton and Port Orchard, Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, the Port of Manchester and various civic organizations fund and enhance Library programs, services and facilities not supported by public funding.
How much of my property tax bill goes to the Library?
In 2017, the Library received approximately 3.12% of the total property taxes collected by the county. On most tax bills, school districts are the largest portion of the bill, followed by fire, county and city. The rest is made up from various smaller entities.
Does the Library have a strategic plan?
Yes, the Library will be entering the third of its current five-year strategic plan, which is available to review online.
Why is the Library asking for more funding when…?
…They just built a new Library in Kingston?
The new location of our Kingston branch was 100% funded with private dollars. The previous space was aging, with heating, cooling and electrical issues. The rising cost of maintaining that aging space made it an increasingly poor investment of community funds. Through generous donations and the effort of the Kingston community, a new space was possible.
…They are building a new building in Silverdale?
Levy funds will not be used to build in Silverdale, which is being planned with dollars raised through a capital campaign. The new building is intended to replace the currently inadequate, aging facility. The Kitsap Regional Library Foundation is currently fundraising for this effort and the property selected has already been purchased with donated dollars. Construction of the building will not begin until all the funds have been raised. For more information about these efforts, please visit foundation.KRL.org.
…They are remodeling the Bainbridge location?
This remodel is fully funded with private dollars raised by Bainbridge Public Library Inc., Bainbridge Island Rotary and the Bainbridge Friends of the Library. The remodel of the Bainbridge location, addressing some functionality issues of the space and updating the worn interiors and furnishings, is taking place as a partnership with Bainbridge Public Library Inc., the owners of this building. For more details on this project, visit www.bainbridgepubliclibrary.org.
Kitsap Regional Library Levy Proposition Informational Resources
What was the plan for Kitsap Regional Library Levy Proposition 1? See our information material below.