April 23, 2014 in City

Spokane County voters pass one library measure, not another

By The Spokesman-Review
Jesse Tinsley photoBuy this photo

Benjamin Bell, 22 months, plays while librarian Cindy Ulrey chats with parents and toddlers after story time on Tuesday in the basement of the Spokane Valley Library.
(Full-size photo)

Spokane Valley voters gave a mixed message to the Spokane County Library District on Tuesday, approving a measure to create a library capital facilities district but rejecting a bond measure to pay for two new libraries and renovation of a third.

Initial results Tuesday night showed creation of the district drawing a 59 percent approval vote while the bond received a 54 percent approval vote. The bond requires a 60 percent supermajority to pass.

The $22 million bond would have paid for a new 30,000-square-foot Spokane Valley branch across from the old University City Mall, a new library branch on Conklin Road and renovation of the Argonne Library.

Library Director Nancy Ledeboer said the results were discouraging. “We had a lot of grass-roots support and if it wasn’t enough, maybe it just isn’t what people want,” she said.

It will be up to the district’s board of trustees to decide if the bond should be put back on the ballot for a second try, Ledeboer said.

“I think they’ll want to look at this and maybe just decide this is what voters want, that voters don’t want to tax themselves to invest in new facilities,” she said. “If people don’t want to fund it, then we can’t build. We’ll just have to go back to the drawing board and see what we can do.”

The capital facilities area that was created by voters will last for two years, Ledeboer said. The library district has another deadline to worry about: A signed agreement with the city of Spokane Valley promised that ground would be broken on a new library by 2017 or the library will sell back the land it purchased from the city.

The new Spokane Valley branch was to be part of the city’s expansion of neighboring Balfour Park.

“They’re committed to building a park there,” Ledeboer said. “Of course, they really wanted a library to be a part of that park.”

In other election results Tuesday, 64 percent of voters in the Newman Lake Fire and Rescue District approved a $1.1 million bond to build a new fire station. This comes after an initial try to pass a $2.2 million bond failed in 2011. The new station will be built at the corner of Starr and Moffat roads on land the Fire District already owns.

An $8.4 million school renovation bond for the Reardan-Edwall School District was rejected with 54 percent of the vote. The bond requires a 60 percent supermajority to pass.

The district is located in both Lincoln and Spokane counties. The bond was passing in Lincoln County with 65 percent of the vote, but only 46 percent of Spokane County voters said yes.

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