Whitman County Library Board approves levy restoration measure

What does your local library save you? Click to use this handy calculator.

During their October meeting, the Whitman County Library Board of Trustees approved a special election to restore the library’s levy tax rate. The measure will go before county voters living outside of Pullman City limits on February 13, 2018. The Board deemed the measure necessary in light of heavy usage and a dropping tax rate due to limitations set forth in I-747.

The library’s tax rate currently sits at $.46 cents per $1000 of assessed value. This is a drop of $.4 cents per thousand, which translates to a $90,000 loss in library revenues for 2017. Library Director Kristie Kirkpatrick commented that the impact has been huge, at nearly 10% of the budget for the district.

Kirkpatrick says, “The library has cut everywhere we can. For 2018, we’ve frozen all staff wages and slashed other budget items including books, online resources, staff training and mileage reimbursements.” Kirkpatrick adds further that if the measure were to fail, open hours, staffing and programs would be cut in 2019.

Restoring the library’s levy rate to $.50 cents, translates to an added .4 cents per $1000 of assessed value. For a home valued at $150,000, this would mean an increase of $12 per year or $1 per month.

Kirkpatrick reports the library’s budget woes became critical when budgeting for 2018. “Operating 14 branch locations on a $1,000,000 budget requires a lot of penny-pinching and prioritization,” Kirkpatrick says. By comparison, Neill Public Library in Pullman operates one location on a larger budget along with some support services provided by the city.

Kirkpatrick says, “The district been so fortunate to fund facility renovations in Uniontown, Endicott and The Center in Colfax through grants, donations and volunteers. This levy restoration is needed strictly for operations and services.”

For more information about the upcoming levy restoration election, visit the library’s website at www.whitco.lib.wa.us, contact the library at 509-397-4366 or Kristie Kirkpatrick at kirkpatr@colfax.com.

 A levy restoration fact sheet can be found here.

For a complete list of events and programs happening in all fourteen Whitman County Library branches, visit the Whitman County Library website or our Blog at http://whitmancountylibrary.blogspot.com, the library's events calendar, Facebook, Twitter,  or call the library at 397-4366 or 877-733-3375 toll-free.