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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane Valley bond seeks $22 million for libraries

Spokane Valley residents will vote again in August on a $22 million bond proposal to build two new library branches and renovate others as the clock ticks on a land deal near Balfour Park.

County commissioners last week approved the ballot measure that will be put to voters who are served by Spokane Valley libraries on Aug. 4. The proposal calls for a property tax increase that amounts to roughly 11 cents for every $1,000 of assessed home value for 20 years. That money will pay off bonds used to fund construction of a new library across the street from the old University City Mall, a new branch on Conklin Road and renovations to the Argonne branch as well as improvements in the existing Spokane Valley library on Main Avenue.

The proposal calls for a more modest tax increase than the one defeated at the polls last April, said Spokane County Library District spokeswoman Jane Baker.

“There have been some changes in the assessed valuation,” she said. The estimated cost to the taxpayer on the last ballot measure was 14 cents per $1,000 of assessed home value. Only 54 percent of voters approved the tax increase last year; a 60 percent supermajority is required on a bond proposal.

If the bond is approved, the new 30,000 square foot library on Sprague would house the book collection currently available at the nearly 60-year-old building on Main, Baker said. That three-story building, renovated in 1986, would be converted to administration offices and a technology center where the library plans to hold its computer education courses, including on 3-D printing, she said.

The library district is coordinating with Spokane Valley to incorporate the new building, estimated to cost around $15 million, into a planned expansion at nearby Balfour Park. Construction on that new library must begin by 2017, or the library district will return the land to Spokane Valley and receive a refund for the real estate’s purchase price, Baker said.

The bond issue will also cover construction of a 10,000 square foot facility on Conklin Road near Central Valley High School, estimated to cost about $5 million. Expansion of the 6,000 square foot branch at 4322 N. Argonne Road and renovations inside the existing Spokane Valley branch will make up the balance of the $22 million bond issue.

Baker said the library district will be holding open houses during the summer to show off designs and explain plans to the public before ballots are mailed July 17. The open house dates have not been scheduled yet, she said.