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Early returns show Lake Stevens levy behind

The Lake Stevens community may not be getting a new library.

“The current ballot count does not look promising, however, we are going to await the final count before commenting further,” said Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory, Sno-Isle Libraries Executive Director.

Early results show 50.87 percent of voters approving a bond measure to build a new library. The measure needs at least 60 percent approval and a minimum voter turnout of 2,792 ballots cast. As of Feb. 12, 5,904 ballots had been returned. Election results are scheduled to be certified Feb. 23.

“We want to thank all who have been so committed to the community’s vision for a new library,” Woolf-Ivory said. “Regardless of the outcome of the election, we are committed to continue providing library services to the Lake Stevens community.”

If bond measure fails, the Lake Stevens Library Capital Facility Area (LCFA) taxing district approved by voters in 2017 would be dissolved. State law allows only two tries at a bond measure once an LCFA is approved. A similar bond measure was on the 2017 ballot. That measure received 66 percent approval, but not enough ballots were returned to validate the election.

If the measure does fail, Woolf-Ivory said, “We will closely review the results of this election before deciding on next steps.”

If the bond measure passes, the next steps would include hiring an architect, forming a building committee and starting the design and pre-construction phases. There will be multiple opportunities for the public to provide input during the process.

“Construction should begin by mid-2019 and we’d hope to open the doors of the new library by fall 2020,” Woolf-Ivory said. “In the meantime, we would continue providing library services to the Lake Stevens community.”

The ballot measure calls for up to $17 million in bond sales to finance a new 20,000 square foot library. The new facility would on property previously purchased by the library district near 99th Avenue NE and Market Place. Project costs include the property, engineering, construction, furnishings, equipment and materials (books, DVDs, etc.).

Passage of the bond measure would enable a property-tax levy of 21.1 cents for each $1,000 of assessed value. Once the bonds are paid off over 20 years, the bond levy would no longer be assessed.

The current Lake Stevens Library building is owned by the City of Lake Stevens. It is on property the city envisions for redevelopment as part of the Downtown Subarea Plan.  The new library would be owned by the library district and is adjacent to property owned by the city. City and library officials are collaborating on a joint-use plan for the properties. The properties are part of the city’s Lake Stevens Center Subarea Plan.

Information about the new Lake Stevens Library project is at sno-isle.org/lake-stevens.

About Sno-Isle Libraries

Sno-Isle Libraries serves 743,540 residents in Snohomish and Island counties through 23 community libraries, online services and Library on Wheels.

For more information

Jim Hills, Sno-Isle Libraries public information manager, 360-651-7050, jhills@sno-isle.org

Sno-Isle Libraries: Connecting people, ideas and culture