Library Levy Aims To Turn A New Page In Ongoing Budget Story - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Library Levy Aims To Turn A New Page In Ongoing Budget Story

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SPOKANE, Wash – It's a budget crunch Spokane Library Director Pat Partovi wishes was fiction, but it's as real as it gets.

"If the levy doesn't pass, the library will have a deficit of about $500,000 dollars in the 2014 budget," Partovi said.

The issue is maintaining levels of service to the public on fewer dollars from the City Of Spokane's general fund.  Back in 2006, the library system was getting roughly 5.45% of the general fund; in 2013, that number is now roughly 4.82%.

That may not sound like much, but Partovi explained each tenth of a percent represents roughly $164,000.

Partovi said over the last several years, internal changes have been made to reduce expenses, including eliminating 5 positions in the last budget cycle, as well as putting maintenance projects on hold, and materials and equipment funds have been reduced.

"We have spent years cutting back as much as possible behind the scenes," she added.  "That brings us to this point now where we don't have any choices anymore."

The levy would cost the average homeowner in Spokane about $10 a year for four years. 

If passed, it would extend hours at the East Side, Hillyard and Indian Trail branches to 40 hours per week, and would preserve service and maintenance across the system for the next 4 years.

"There's a notion that it's all on the Internet, we don't need libraries any more, what about e-books, and that's fine if you have a really good income, but we all know everybody in Spokane does not," she added.  "This has been an issue that has gone on for a long, long time, and this is an opportunity for the community to step up and support the library."

If the levy fails, the board would have to look at reducing hours or services, or potentially closing two branches.  Based on usage, those two may be the East Side and Indian Trail locations.

An issue now left up to the voters.

To read a levy fact sheet, the resolution passed by Spokane City Councilors, and the ballot text, visit http://www.spokanelibrary.org/index.php?page=prop3.

 

 

 

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