A Eugene ballot measure to renew a five-year levy for the Eugene Public library has more than 76 percent of votes so far in this year’s election. The local option tax maintains the current level of services and possibly more.
The measure renews a 2015 levy that was geared toward expanding hours of operation at several branches, and increasing the number of programs offered.
“We promised our community our goal was to get 1,800 programs and we were actually able to blow that away in our year three of the levy, which is our more recent report,” said Library Services Director Will O’Hearn. He added they reached 2,300 programs, and with 65,000 program participants.
Ballot Measure 20-309 will preserve 47 open hours across three locations that were added in 2015, and maintain the increase in programs for all ages. Also, included in the measure, is for the library to maintain off-site delivery programs and outreach and maintain and replace internet-ready devices.
“We’ll continue to build on that and find out what the community's needs are going forward,” O’Hearn said. “Some of that still is going to be those open hours of access, but it’s also going to be things like looking at expanding our maker space, how we can make sure that we have inclusive, equitable information access for everyone in our community during COVID and then afterwards as well”
The levy will generate $2,850,000 a year for five years for a total of $14,250,000. This will be funded by taxing an estimated rate of $0.15 per $1,000 assessed property value starting in 2021. For taxpayers that could work out to about $37 per year over five years.
The measure requires annual spending reports be reviewed by the Library Advisory Board and be made available for the public and the Eugene City Council.
“I know the library really takes it to heart, and is really honored that we’re able to do so much for our community and we’re looking forward to seeing what that looks like, and we’re just so happy about the trust and confidence we’ve earned in our community to do that,” O’Hearn said.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the measure had 76.72% of voters approving the measure.
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