Voters overwhelmingly pass Multnomah County Library funding measure (2012 primary election)
May 15, 2012
Voters approved a levy for the popular Multnomah County Library by a huge ratio -- 82 percent to 18 percent -- in partial returns.
Measure 26-125 will renew a three-year levy of 89 cents per $1,000 in assessed property value to support the library system's Central Library and 18 branches. The current levy expires in June.
Portland voters, meanwhile, easily passed nine housekeeping measures to change the Portland City Charter.
Under the library measure, property owners will continue paying a local-option property tax, which supplies about two-thirds of the library system's annual funding. The owner of a home assessed at $250,000, for example, will pay $222.50 a year. Estimates for the amount the levy will raise are: $32.6 million in 2012-13, $34.5 million in 2013-14 and $36.5 million 2014-15.
Backers say the money will support current services at the second most heavily used library system in the nation. Without it, library officials said most branches would have had to close.
The levy is the first part of what's planned as a two-pronged funding strategy.
The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners plans to return to voters, possibly in November, to ask them to replace the levy with a permanent taxing district that would cost property owners $1.18 per $1,000 in assessed value.
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