Multnomah Co. changes course on library tax district
January 3, 2012
By Andy Giegerich, Portland Business Journal
Reversing an earlier decision regarding library funding, Multnomah County is poised to take two measures to voters in 2012 that library advocates say could prevent massive layoffs and service cuts.
First up is a measure that calls for the renewal of an existing levy equal to 89 cents per each $1,000 of homeowners assessed value. If approved, supporters contend that the temporary property tax increase would allow some 300 library workers to keep their jobs. The levy vote is set to take place in May, a month before the current levy, which provides about $42 million of the system's $63 million budget, expires.
The county will later ask voters to establish a permanent library tax district to replace the temporary levy. The new district would increase the temporary property tax assessment by 30 cents and provide more permanent funding for Multnomah’s libraries. It would also help retain 90 percent of the system's nearly 500 employees. That vote is set for November.
Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen proposed the measure to continue the levy late last year, but he didn’t support putting the district measure up for a vote because the 2012 election ballot promises to be crowded.
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