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KRL decides against a levy lid-lift initiative

Citing the current economic situation, the Kitsap Regional Library Board of Trustees announced Thursday night at a regularly scheduled meeting that the library will not seek a levy lid-lift tax initiative on the November ballot.

President Teresa McDermott said the board’s decision was a difficult one and involved much discussion and consideration since the library has been cutting its hours and services system-wide during the last year. She said the board is contemplating the possibility of a November 2009 ballot initiative.

“We are extremely sensitive to the current economic climate,” McDermott said. “We, too, are making difficult economic choices.”

KRL had a levy lid-lift measure defeated on May 15, 2007. The lid-lift measure, if passed, would have given the library an additional $6.1 million (increasing the budget to $15.4 million) in 2008 by allowing an 18-cent increase for every $1,000 of assessed property value. The current county-wide rate is about 30 cents for every $1,000 of assessed value.

The board considered another levy try last summer, but decided against it. The library has cut more than $2 million from its 2008 budget and KRL Director Jill Jean said more cuts will occur next year.

“It hasn’t been easy,” Jean said in a statement released Friday. “We have already reduced our books and materials budget by $250,000, and have reduced open hours system-wide by 44 hours per week. We have implemented a modified hiring freeze, which has led to a reduction in staff via attrition and retirements, and some vacated positions have not been filled.”

Jean said the library’s shrinking budget has forced the board and administrators to consider even more belt tightening.

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