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

Spokane Public Library seeking property tax renewal

Saige Bates, 10, and her brother Wally, 5, create their paintings of a monster reading a book and a rainbow with a sun on a pane of glass at the Liberty Park Library in June.  (Dan Pelle/The Spokesman-Review)

The Spokane Public Library wants voters to renew its property tax levy.

The City Council on Monday will decide whether to place the library’s renewal request on the Feb. 13 special election ballot.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the current property tax in 2013 and renewed it in 2017.

The levy is projected to bring in $2.4 million in 2023. It comprises nearly a fifth of the library’s budget. The bulk of its revenue, a bit under $10 million, comes from Spokane’s general fund.

Spokane Public Library Executive Director Andrew Chanse told the City Council last month that the levy allows the library to be open more hours. Chanse said the money also makes it possible for Spokane’s libraries to provide early childhood programs, meeting rooms and communal gathering spaces.

The library’s property tax collects 7 cents for every $1,000 of property value in Spokane. That means the owner of a $400,000 home contributes $28 annually.

City Councilwoman Betsy Wilkerson said in an October meeting that she hopes voters renew the library’s property tax. Libraries are among the city’s most important assets, she said.

“Our libraries anchor neighborhoods, just like parks do,” she said.

City Councilman Zack Zappone said in an interview he supports the library’s request, too.

“It builds upon the great renovations and successes of the libraries, and continues the operations to keep those services great,” he said.

The 2017 renewal expires at the end of 2024. If voters approve the library’s newest request, the property tax levy would remain in place through 2028.