Ocean Shores voters deciding whether to lift levy lid for library

For many around Ocean Shores, the biggest item on the ballot is the proposed library lid lift.

As opposed to a stand-alone levy, which requires a 60 percent “supermajority,” a lid lift requires only a majority (50 percent, plus one, or greater) to pass.

The request for a property tax lid lift to fund the library is back on the ballot after a narrow defeat earlier this year.

Voters should have received their ballot. Those who have not, may call the Grays Harbor County Elections Department at 360-249-4232.

Election day is Tuesday, Aug. 7. To be counted, ballots must have a postmark of Aug. 7 or earlier, or be dropped off at an authorized location on Election Day.

The Ocean Shores Convention Center will accept ballots from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 7.

According to Julie Colacurcio of the county elections department, 3,573 ballots were mailed to Ocean Shores voters. This is up nearly 100 from the 3,486 ballots mailed in April.

This levy for the library is set at 24.7 cents per thousand dollars of assessed property value, down from the previous request of 28.7 cents per thousand that failed by a handful of votes in April, with 51.19 percent of the voters rejecting the measure.

In 2010, a 22 cents per thousand levy for the library was approved, with the measure winning by three votes.

(Since the 2010 vote, a re-assessment by the county lowered most property values of homes in Ocean Shores.)

Prior to 2009, the Ocean Shores Library was funded by the city’s General Fund. But, with the city in financial trouble, the city council “de-funded” the library in 2009. This forced library supporters to come up with an alternative method of funding the city’s 40-year-old library.

The library was originally located in the Ocean Shores Permit Center. After voters approved a $265,000 bond in 1990, a stand-alone library was built and opened on Sept. 24, 1993.

Judy Stull was the first library director, hired in 1979. She retired in 2009. Keitha Owen, the city’s second library director, was hired in early 2011.

Last year, the library doubled its number of computers and automated its card catalog.

Library budgets, in recent years, according to 2010 and 2012 city budget publications:

$287,316, 2006; $300,132, 2007; $379,180, 2008; $275,781, 2009; $106,880, 2010 (“defunding” year); $322,672, 2011; $321,900, 2012 (projected).