News

New library possible for FW

By JODY ALLARD

Staff writer

A new public library will be in the works for Federal Way if voters approve a King County Library System $158 million capital improvement bond levy in the Feb. 4 election.

Seventeen King County libraries are slated for replacement, including the branch on 320th Street in Federal Way. The construction of four additional libraries, and upgrades and expansions of 25 other branches would be funded in the 10-year improvement plan.

County voters last year approved a one-year levy lid lift to restore operating funding levels for 2003, otherwise restricted by the 2001 passage of Initiative 747.

Proposition 1, if passed, would authorize the library system to raise funds specifically for capital improvements to be made over the next 10 years.

Major upgrades, property acquisition and building new facilities are funded separately from operating costs, as required by Washington law.

Library upgrades and improvements are currently funded by a bond measure passed by voters in 1988.

According to the library system’s Web site, “without the increased revenue needed to take strategic action now, the (system) will not be able to meet future growth at the current level of service.”

Library officials estimate the cost to the taxpayers in the library district would be approximately 8 cents per $1,000 of assessed home value. The owner of a $200,000 home would pay approximately $16 per year. A $300,000 home would be assessed approximately $24 per year.

The proposed improvements were developed as part of the library system’s 10-year forecast. Officials proposed enhancements for each of the 42 existing libraries, and suggested additional new facilities in rapidly growing areas.

Library patrons and community residents helped refine the plan during a public outreach program.

The proposed changes are scheduled by individual libraries to be completed within the next 10 years if funding is approved.

King County’s library system is ranked as one of the four busiest in the nation, with its use increasing 40 percent over the last 10 years.

The library system is an autonomous governmental agency whose only purpose is to provide library services, and is not part of the county government.

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