Council to decide on library lift issue

POULSBO — Two weeks after Poulsbo Fire Department Chief Jim Shields asked the city council to support the fire district’s proposed levy lid lift, Kitsap Regional Libraries Director Jill Jean will seek a similar favor tonight.

The library district is asking voters to approve raising the district’s levy to 48 cents per $1,000 of assessed value from its current rate of 30 cents per $1,000 of assessed value on the May 15 ballot.

At the April 11 council finance/administration committee meeting, Jean’s pitch received support from councilmen Jim Henry and Dale Rudolph along with Councilwoman Connie Lord.

“We will be facing a shortfall of 20 to 25 percent if we are not able to pass this levy rate,” Jean warned the committee.

The response to the proposed increase has been favorable countywide as it will assist all nine library branches from Manchester to Kingston, she said.

Poulsbo in particular would benefit, because the city would no longer have to foot the bill for all of the utilities and maintenance at the Poulsbo Library, she said.

“We would like to be better partners with you,” Jean said.

The KRL would pay for half of the interior and exterior maintenance costs of the Poulsbo branch and half the utilities as well, Jean said.

“That’s great news,” Lord said.

Rudolph said the proposal should improve the relationship between the city and the library.

“If we are both invested in it, we are going to make a little different decisions about where we go,” Rudolph said. “I appreciate that.”

Along with sharing the maintenance and utilities costs with the city, Jean said the district plans to remodel and possibly expand its Poulsbo branch in the future.

“I believe we can use the existing footprint,” she said. “We are looking forward to being able to do some of that.”

Among those improvements will be the first self-service program in the county, which will set the tone for the other libraries looking to implement a similar system, Jean said. The self-service system will allow users to access books and other materials with minimal staff assistance.

Support for the library within the community is already evident, because it’s always full, Lord said.

“I believe the community supports it,” she said.

Henry said he also believes the voters will support the library’s lid lift.

“This is one of the things that has an impact on them,” Henry said.

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