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New Silverdale branch unlikely with failed library levy

Construction on the Haselwood Family YMCA continues Wednesday in Silverdale. Kitsap Regional Library officials had plans to build and operate a new branch next to the YMCA but with the library levy rejected by voters those plans will have to be revised.   - Kristin Okinaka/staff photo
Construction on the Haselwood Family YMCA continues Wednesday in Silverdale. Kitsap Regional Library officials had plans to build and operate a new branch next to the YMCA but with the library levy rejected by voters those plans will have to be revised.
— image credit: Kristin Okinaka/staff photo

With the rejection of Kitsap Regional Library’s levy lid lift, Silverdale won’t see a new branch any time soon.

Early results Wednesday showed the library levy trailing 15.3 percent. Library officials conceded the election Tuesday.

“Had the levy passed, we were pretty confident in saying a new branch would open sometime in 2014,” said Jeff Brody, spokesman for Kitsap Regional Library. “With the levy not passing, there is absolutely no way we can project when or if a new library will be built in Silverdale.”

A 17,500 square-foot library building costing an estimated $9 million would have been part of the new Silverdale Community Campus where the Haselwood Family YMCA is currently being constructed.

Once all election results are available by precinct, the library district could see if there were any areas that had a majority of support for the levy, and then propose a bond issue targeting those communities, said Brody. But even if there is a specific area that has support for the levy, the bonds would only cover building a new branch whereas money from the levy would have gone toward both building and operating a new facility.

“How foolish would it be to have tax payers build a new building that you cannot operate?” Brody said of going in the route of bonds, adding that it would not be a viable option.

The levy lid lift proposed a 13.5 cent property tax increase to 48 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. It would have provided Kitsap Regional Library with an additional $36.5 million during the next 10 years. Besides paying for a new Silverdale branch, the money would have helped with building improvements at other locations, new technology and increased operating hours.

Officials said in a statement the library district is facing drastic cuts, and could put another levy to voters in 2011.

After counting 66,643 ballots Wednesday, the levy proposal was trailing 57.67 percent to 42.33 percent, or 38,430 votes to 28,213 votes.

“We still believe in our library system and we know that there are many Kitsap County residents who also believe,” Gail Mathison, president of the Kitsap Regional Library Board of Trustees, said in a statement.

The district hasn’t had a levy lift approved by voters since 1979. Most recently, the district ran a more ambitious levy in 2007 which failed by 8.9 percent.

The libraries will use current buildings and cut back on business hours until 2012 when deeper cuts may be enacted, library officials said.

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