Voters may see library levy in ‘10

Silverdale resident Jacob Sheffield looks for books at the Silverdale branch of the Kitsap Regional Library.   - Andy Jones/staff photo
Silverdale resident Jacob Sheffield looks for books at the Silverdale branch of the Kitsap Regional Library.
— image credit: Andy Jones/staff photo

Marge Dick has volunteered at the Silverdale Library’s book sale every week for 10 years, setting up Monday and manning the cash box during the sale Tuesday.

She sat at her station this week, if a bit cramped, amid shelves heaped with used books as customers browsed the wares.

“We need room,” Dick said. “This room is so small, we’re just busting at the seams.”

But this is just one of the branch’s many needs on a lean budget. Other items on its wish list include more computers and software and a larger budget to expand its collection.

Perhaps most of all, Silverdale wants a new building.

“We just need a much larger library,” Dick said. “Not only for the book sale, but for the people, for the staff.”

That’s why the Kitsap Regional Library system may put a levy lid lift on the November 2010 ballot, which would result in a property tax increase to fund library operations.

The KRL board authorized library staff on Dec. 15 to draw up a plan for extra funds should a levy increase pass. The board has until July 26 to decide whether to pursue the proposal.

While the KRL budget is sustainable with current revenues after pay freezes and cutbacks in hours, Director of Community Relations Jeff Brody said cost increases of operations, materials and employee health insurance outpace the annual increase of the KRL budget — posing problems after a few years, unless voters pitch in.

“Over time, if nothing happens, we’ll have to cut the collection budget more ... we’ll still have to put off improvements on our technology,” Brody said. “If the people of Kitsap (reject a levy lid lift), we’ll still limp along for the next five years.”

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