Mayor Dean Grafos has thrown his support behind a $22 million library bond that would pay for two new branches in Spokane Valley and the expansion of a third near Millwood.
Grafos, stressing that his personal support doesn’t constitute an official city of Spokane Valley endorsement, urged business leaders this week to consider backing the Spokane County Library District’s bond measure in next month’s special election.
“I think the SVBA should get behind and back the library bond,” Grafos said during a Thursday morning meeting of the Spokane Valley Business Association.
The personal endorsement came during a discussion of potential locations for a new Spokane Valley City Hall. One preferred site is a portion of the former University City mall property across the street from Balfour Park, which is where the Spokane County Library District wants to build a new main branch that would be the centerpiece of an expanded park and outdoor community gathering spot.
The bond measure seeks voter approval to raise property taxes about $14 per $100,000 of assessed value annually over the next 20 years within a proposed Spokane Valley service area. About $15 million would be earmarked for the new 30,000-square-foot Spokane Valley branch, while $5 million would be used to build a new 10,000-square-foot branch at Conklin Road to serve Greenacres and $2 million would pay for a 6,000-square-foot expansion of the Argonne branch near Millwood.
It requires a 60 percent supermajority to pass.
In addition to the bond measure, voters also will be asked to create a new Spokane Valley Library Capital Facilities Area, which would limit the tax increase to properties nearest the planned new branches. Only voters living within the proposed service area will receive ballots, which will begin arriving in mailboxes April 4.
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