Voters in unincorporated Lincoln County are deciding this month whether to renew a property tax that ensures they have access to the region’s libraries.
People in Newport, Lincoln City, Toledo and Yachats pay for their libraries through their city taxes. People outside those cities can get a free library card thanks to a decades-old arrangement that’s paid for by a levy on property in unincorporated parts of Lincoln County.
The levy has to be renewed every five years. If Measure 21-197 fails, the Lincoln County Library District says people who live outside city limits could potentially have to start paying for library cards. The district says libraries may also have to reduce hours and curtail interlibrary loans.
There is no organized opposition to the levy. In 2014, the last time the levy was on the ballot, it passed with 70 percent of the vote.