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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 9, 2019 - Volume 47 Issue 32
No taxpayer fatigue in Seattle
Section One
ALL STORIES
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No taxpayer fatigue in Seattle

by Tim Peter - SGN Contributing Writer

Voters in Seattle and across King County overwhelmingly approved new levies for Seattle Public Library and King County Parks, despite a report by the more conservative KOMO TV earlier this year that 'Seattle is dying.'

The library levy, which would provide an additional $219 million over the next seven years, was in the lead with more 75 percent of voters saying yes. The new levy would collect about 12 cents per $1,000 of assessed value in 2020, or about $85 for a $700,000 home.

'With this vote, Seattle said yes to more equitable access to our libraries, expanding hours, digital equity and maintaining the critical services core to our libraries,' Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a victory statement. 'It shows (that) people really believe we have to center equity and bring community together. It's pretty remarkable. It's hard to find many topics (which) over 70 percent of Seattle agrees on.'

The library levy is multi-purpose: $167 million would go toward maintaining existing services; it also would enable Delridge, Green Lake, New Holly and Wallingford branches to open on Fridays, extend hours at the High Point, International District/Chinatown and South Park branches and keep all 27 neighborhood branches open longer at night; fund seismic retrofitting at Columbia City, Green Lake and University branches; provide additional support for library early learning programs for children up to age five; upgrade internet technology and support digital equity efforts such as mobile hotspots and digital literacy classes. Also, of great importance to many lower income people, the new levy would eliminate all overdue fines; however, fees for lost and damaged items will remain in effect.

Countywide, the $810 million, six-year parks levy was passing with almost 70 percent of the vote. The parks levy is more than double the existing $396 million. It would cost approximately 18 cents per every $1,000.00 for a $500,000.00 home, (roughly $92 in the first year) beginning in 2020. It will 'provide funding for county, town, city and park district parks, and for open space, trails, recreation, public pools, zoo operations and an aquarium capital project,' according to the ballot title.

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