Port Townsend Library bond on August ballot
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Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
The Carnegie Library building on Lawrence Street in Port Townsend has been closed for renovations.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT TOWNSEND — The City Council has placed a measure on the Aug. 6 primary ballot asking voters to authorize the purchase of up to $3 million in general obligation bonds for the Port Townsend Library expansion.

If voters approve it, the measure would authorize the city to issue the bonds for the renovation and expansion of the Carnegie Library portion of the library at 1220 Lawrence St.

That part already has received a seismic upgrade.

The remainder of the project includes the construction of a two-story addition that will give the library 62 percent more square footage and 57 percent more linear shelf space.

The project has been scaled down from $9 million to $4.2 million, with the difference between the bond amount and the project cost to be raised through grants and by the Port Townsend Public Library Foundation.

If funds aren't committed by Sept. 30, the bonds will not be sold, and the project will not go forward.

If that occurs or if the measure is defeated in the primary, the library, which has operated from a temporary location at Mountain View Commons for the past year, will move back to the Carnegie location without receiving anymore upgrades.

The ballot measure was approved Monday night 4-2.

Mayor David King, Deputy Mayor Kris Nelson and Councilwomen Michelle Sandoval and Catharine Robinson voted to approve it, with Councilmen Mark Welch and Robert Gray opposed.

Councilwoman Deborah Stinson was absent.

“I don't think we are addressing this correctly,” Gray said Wednesday.

“A lot of people are on fixed incomes, and I don't think we should tack this onto everything else that may be coming.

“We are told that it will only cost so much per year, but it could be too much for people to handle.”

While the final bond amount is to be determined, the annual property increase on a $3 million bond is $37.80 for a house valued at $200,000 and $37.80 for a house valued at $300,000, according to library director Theresa Percy.

While the process has gone through several iterations, Percy is pleased with the proposal.

“This is a good alternative. It keeps the library on track,” she said.

“It increases our space and keeps open the possibility of future expansion.”

Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 08. 2013 6:07PM
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