Measure 26-114

REFERRED TO THE PEOPLE BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS AS RECOMMENDED BY THE MULTNOMAH COUNTY CHARTER REVIEW COMMITTEE.

BALLOT TITLE


MULTNOMAH COUNTY LIBRARY DISTRICT

QUESTION: Should the County Charter allow the Board of County Commissioners to form a county library district by voter approval?

SUMMARY: This measure amends the Charter to allow the County to form a library district with requirements specific to the County. The library district would have the powers granted to districts and public libraries by state law and by the Charter, including imposing ad valorum property taxes to support its services. The Board of County Commissioners would be the governing body of the library district. The amendment would provide the method of forming the library district, its organization and management, and the process for giving voters notice and hearing. A separate election would be required to form the district. This district would be different from those formed by the two methods available under state law. It takes effect on November 3, 2010


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

The Library is a County Department funded by the general fund and a five year serial levy that expires in 2012. A serial levy is not a stable source of library funding. It requires voter approval every five years for the majority of the funding. In fiscal year 2009-2010, the levy provided 62% of the library's budgeted funding. A library district with a permanent tax rate would be a more stable funding source, but it would cause some revenue loss to other jurisdictions within the County. Under state law, the two methods to form a county library district require consent of other jurisdictions in the district before the Board may place the measure before voters. This measure would add a section to the Charter allowing the Board to set a county-specific method of library district formation.

Multnomah County library provides:
24/7 online access to information, learning resources, and the library catalog

  • Each day more than 14,000 people visit the 19 libraries and there are more than 15,000 website visits.
  • An average of 29.9 books are checked out every year for every man, woman, and child in the county.
  • Library staff answers 1.9 million questions a year.

Programs for school age children, story hours for babies and toddlers, summer reading, literacy services for children in child care, homework help, programs for teens

  • 62,000 kids participated in the Library's Summer Reading program in 2009, which includes over half of the county's elementary school children
  • More than 300,000 people attend library programs and events for children and teens each year.

Book delivery to homebound seniors and nursing home residents
Library services for jobseekers, small business owners, and English language learners
Among US libraries serving fewer than 1 million residents, Multnomah County Library ranks No. 1 in annual circulation of books and materials, according to the 2009 Public Library Data Service Statistical Report.

The Charter Review Committee found that the Library provides important services to county residents and should have a stable funding source, and that the question of forming a Multnomah County Library District with a permanent tax rate should be decided by all voters within the County, without prior restriction or consent.

This measure would provide the County with another method of forming a Multnomah County Library District as determined by the Board of County Commissioners.

The measure will take effect November 3, 2010.

Submitted by:
Agnes Sowle
County Attorney
Multnomah County
 


No arguments AGAINST this measure were filed.


ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

Measure 26-114
It's NOT a tax increase.
But it will allow us to protect our libraries.

The public libraries are one of the best things about our community. In neighborhoods from west Portland to Corbett; from Troutdale to Fairview, Wood Village, Gresham and everywhere in between-- they are important in our lives:

  • Libraries open the world to our children - helping them with reading and with their homework, and giving them a love of learning.
  • They are a vital resource for families, for the retired and seniors citizens, for teachers and for job hunters.
  • Libraries are there for everyone – open, accessible and free. That's especially important in tough economic times.
  • Libraries have resources for people seeking employment information, summer reading programs, book-mobiles for those without transportation, answers to research questions from local librarians and help accessing technology.

And, they are a great value for taxpayers – well managed and utilizing over 1,800 volunteers.

Library Measure 26-114 is NOT a tax increase, but a way to give us more options to make sure our libraries continue to be there for us.

Measure 26-114 changes the County Charter to allow voters to decide whether or not to establish a dedicated Library District sometime in the future, which would ensure continued investment in this important local service.

The measure would give voters the ability to say that the money we pay for the library stays with the library. It would give us, as voters, the ability to protect our libraries from losing promised library dollars to other projects.

Even if Measure 26-114 passes, we would all have to vote again sometime in the future to establish a district or change the way we pay for the libraries. This measure would just allow us to have the choice – a choice we don't have right now.

More ways to protect the libraries we love.
That's a good choice to have.

This November, please Vote YES on
Library Measure 26-114.

(This information furnished by Janis Adler, Libraries Yes!)

The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by Multnomah County, nor does the county warrant the accuracy or truth of any statements made in the argument.


ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

Local Librarians Support Measure 26-114

We are retired librarians who were employed at libraries like our local central and branch libraries across Multnomah County.

Librarians typically love their job and library patrons find our services helpful.

People in our community are regular library users. They check out books, research everything from their own neighborhood to topics for school papers, to distant lands to which they hope - or plan – to travel. Children come for storytime; homebound elderly receive books mailed to their homes; and job-seekers of every age come to learn new skills or find leads for employment.

We know first hand that librarians try to help everyone who comes through the door. And now, we hope the community will help our libraries.

Measure 26-114 is not a tax increase. It lets voters decide whether, in the future, a special library district can be formed – to protect and ensure library funding.

The county charter does not currently allow voters to decide whether to form a special district for libraries. This measure gives us that option.

Libraries are an important feature of many neighborhoods and an important part of many families' lives. We hope you'll support our libraries going into the future.

Please support your local libraries: Yes on
Measure 26-114.

Michelle Jeffries M. Yvonne Williams
Retired Librarian Retired Librarian

Carolyn M. Myers
Retired Librarian

(This information furnished by Janis Adler)

The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by Multnomah County, nor does the county warrant the accuracy or truth of any statements made in the argument.


ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

Local Schoolteachers Support Library Measure 26-114

Our local libraries are essential to teaching and essential to our kids' education.

There's nothing more satisfying to a teacher than a student actively seeking out new stories and new information. It shows an interest in learning and an interest in acquiring the skills to learn independently in the future.

Unfortunately, some children don't have access at home to books, magazines, computers or some of the other resources a library provides, and that we want them to have, as early in their lives as possible.

Public libraries contain many books and materials that teachers and kids need, but don't have, in their school libraries. And librarians can help us find and borrow nearly any book from almost anywhere in the world – even if it's not on the shelf locally.

Librarians can answer questions, help kids succeed in their research pursuits, and direct them to new sources for exploration.

Libraries help satisfy our kids' curiosity, helps keep them focused on homework, and keep them interested in learning. They help prepare young kids for school and give access to the world beyond the neighborhood for those already in school. That helps us all.

Please join us in supporting the library measure on the ballot in November. It will help us to protect our libraries in the future and that will help teachers and kids, as well.

Deb Wheelbarger
Sarah Marble
Librarian – Mill Park Elementary Head Start Teacher
David Douglas School District

(This information furnished by Elizabeth Kaufman, Libraries Yes)

The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by Multnomah County, nor does the county warrant the accuracy or truth of any statements made in the argument.


ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

Parents with Young Families Support Our Libraries
And they support us!

Please vote YES on Measure 26-114

Like many parents, the local library is one of our kids' favorite spots.

Almost every week, we go to the library for all kinds of great stuff including storytime and new books. The librarians greet us with open arms and a huge variety of books our kids have never seen before. Some kids get help learning to read or selecting books to borrow.

We see older kids at the library, too – schoolchildren doing their homework or looking up information for a research project. Again, the librarians often help them find what they need to solve a homework problem or to further their research.

Libraries are a vital community resource. Raising a family can be expensive and we really appreciate the fact that library services are free and available to everyone.

The library measure on the November ballot will get our support: It's not a tax increase. It's just a vote that will protect our libraries in the future.

The measure asks whether the county should be able to set up a special library district sometime in the future, with voter approval. Nothing would occur without voter approval. And, a district would be a way to protect the library's funding so we can all continue to use it – families, kids, and their grandparents!

Please join us in supporting and protecting our libraries. Vote Yes on Measure 26-114.

Kristin Teigen        Jennifer Fox

(This information furnished by Janis Adler)

The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by Multnomah County, nor does the county warrant the accuracy or truth of any statements made in the argument.


ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

Join the Friends of the Library in voting YES on 26-114

We are the Friends of the Multnomah County Library. The Friends of the Multnomah County Library is a grassroots organization that was organized by the community in 1972 in opposition to proposed major cuts of library funding.

Friends of Multnomah County Library are teachers, students, clerks, artists, engineers, seniors, parents, families, grandparents, volunteers and more. We live all over the county - from Gresham and Troutdale to St. Johns to Southwest Portland. We are you and, like you, we both love and need our local libraries. Since our inception, we have advocated for, and supported, our Multnomah County Library system to maintain the services, programs and resources it provides - services that are more important now than ever.

We believe in free and equal access to information for all. Our libraries provide access as well as programs and educational services that help us individually and the community as a whole.

Libraries are a vital source of information and a connecting point for individuals to the wider community, and between community groups and those they serve. The libraries provide materials for education and entertainment, free of charge, in a world where few things are free.

Measure 26-114 will provide an important option for the county to protect the library into the future.

It would give the county the option to ask voters for approval to create a library district sometime in the future.

Measure 26-114 is not a tax increase. This measure simply gives the county the ability to create a more stable funding source for the library in the future.

Voters would decide whether to use this option and whether to protect library funding going forward. That is not an option we currently have.

Please join us in supporting our local libraries.
Vote YES on Measure 26-114.

(This information furnished by Craig Cedros, Friends of the Library)

The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by Multnomah County, nor does the county warrant the accuracy or truth of any statements made in the argument.


ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

VOTE YES FOR OUR LOCAL LIBRARIES

Walk into any of Multnomah County Library's neighborhood libraries these days and you will see hope, determination and promise.

  • Children are returning to school better prepared to succeed, thanks to the library's literacy work.
  • Senior citizens and young families with children who have been forced to live on less are finding information and advice with the help of librarians.
  • Those who are unemployed are turning to the library to get access to computers and help searching for work.

Our library was founded during another volatile time in our nation's history – the Civil War. When we were just a fledgling settlement on the banks of the Willamette, our library shaped our community's love for reading. Today, Multnomah County Library is the oldest public library west of the Mississippi and one of the hardest working and most respected library systems in the country.

Each year, our library breaks records and wins awards for high usage, cost efficient operations and programs that change the lives of children, families and seniors. Over the last decade, use of our library has nearly doubled. More than 34,000 people visit our library in person or online every day.

The Library Foundation is an independent, community-based non-profit dedicated to enhancing our library's incredible work. Our volunteer board and thousands of supporters make gifts, large and small, to extend taxpayer's investment in the basic operations of our hardworking library.

We believe a strong library makes a strong community. Multnomah County Library has earned our trust and deserves our support.

We urge you to vote for Measure 26-114. It is not a tax increase. But it will give voters the option to secure our investment in the library and protect Multnomah County Library's funding for the future.

Join us, the volunteers and supporters of The Library Foundation, by voting yes on Measure 26-114.

(This information furnished by Merris Sumrall, The Library Foundation )

The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by Multnomah County, nor does the county warrant the accuracy or truth of any statements made in the argument.


ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

Library Employees Support Measure 26-114

As proud members of our Union, AFSCME Local 88, we work in our public libraries. We check out books, assist patrons, and keep the neighborhood branches and Central library running day to day. We know from direct experience the uncertainty of declining budgets for local services like the library. We know that in difficult economic times, libraries are even more important to struggling families, job seekers, students and more.

That's why we support Measure 26-114 for our libraries.

It is not a tax increase.

It simply gives voters the option to establish, at some future date, stable, long-term funding for Multnomah County libraries.

Nothing can be changed without future voter approval.

Library workers see first-hand how people rely on our services throughout their lives. They expect the library to be a vital part of their community now and into the future. Measure 26-114 puts an option in place to protect our libraries that we do not currently have.

Please vote YES on Measure 26-114.

(This information furnished by Michael O Hanna, AFSCME Local 88, Multnomah County Employee’s Union)

The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by Multnomah County, nor does the county warrant the accuracy or truth of any statements made in the argument.


ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

Library Advisors Support Measure 26-114

We are individual businesspeople, teachers, workers, students, and retirees who have served as volunteer advisors to the library.

We come from neighborhoods like Troutdale, Gresham, Midland, Woodstock, North Portland, Hillsdale, and everywhere in between.

We help keep the library a critical source of educational resources, as well as free, family-oriented activities for you. We know that the library's outreach programs for children, for homebound seniors, for job-seeking and its tremendous collection of books are well-used and well-loved throughout the county.

With increasing use, the library has proven itself to be essential to the families in this community during this difficult economic time. It is a shared community asset that we care about, and which a large, diverse set of users finds worthwhile to visit and support.

There is a measure on the ballot this November that will help the library.

Here is what Measure 26-114 will do:

  • It will allow voters the opportunity to decide whether they want a special library district to help stabilize long-term funding.
  • It is not a tax increase.
  • It will simply allow the option of asking voters in the future whether to create a library district. Nothing would occur without approval of the voters.

Whether a library district is the proper solution for the county should be answered by the people most affected: you, its patrons. This ballot measure captures the essence of home rule by allowing you to determine that the county charter is properly structured to meet local needs.

We urge you to approve the ballot measure because it will provide our libraries with another option for protecting their funding, and their essential services – into the future.

Jim Wygant John Potter

Carlene A. Weldon David L. Blount

Lori Irish Bauman Heidi Y. Beebe

Rob Brading Sola Whitehead

(This information furnished by John Potter)

The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by Multnomah County, nor does the county warrant the accuracy or truth of any statements made in the argument.


ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

Local Library Volunteers Urge Your Support for Library Measure 26-114

We work as volunteers at local libraries all over our county. We shelve books, organize materials, read to children, help with homework, get books to the homebound and much more.

We can tell you first hand that our libraries are well-used and busy.

Our libraries serve young families with children anxious to get their weekly pile of books. They serve students researching projects or doing their daily homework.

Teachers use the libraries to help with their teaching. Our libraries serve people looking for work – seeking help from the librarians or searching online for possible job prospects. They serve all kinds of people with all kinds of needs, especially in these tough economic times.

Our libraries are open and free to all. And, they need our support.

Measure 26-114 is a change to the county charter on the November ballot. It is not a tax increase.

Measure 26-114 will allow voters to decide whether to establish a dedicated library district, sometime in the future, that would ensure continued investment in this important local service.

Measure 26-114 a way to give us more options to make sure our libraries can be there for us.

The measure would give voters the ability to say the money we pay for the library, stays with the library. It would give voters the ability to protect money promised to the library from going to other projects.

We love our libraries. And we see that many of our neighbors in this community love the libraries and really need them.

We hope you'll join us in protecting our local libraries: Vote Yes on Measure 26-114.

Heather McGivney Reva Basch
Library Volunteer Library Volunteer

Carolyn L. Rundorff
Library Volunteer

(This information furnished by Liz Kaufman, Libraries Yes)

The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by Multnomah County, nor does the county warrant the accuracy or truth of any statements made in the argument.


ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

Retirees Support Our Libraries
Vote Yes on Measure 26-114

We are local retirees who use and volunteer at our libraries. We know libraries are essential to our community and that supporting them is one of the best values around.

That's especially true for retirees and older residents of Multnomah County.

Of course, libraries help all of us. They offer constructive activities for young people, resources for education and positive ways to keep us useful and engaged.

Libraries serve retirees and senior citizens in several important ways:

  • Older citizens use the library for their daily news, to see people, visit with neighbors and, sometimes, just to have a friendly face steer them in the right direction.
  • Educational programs help senior citizens learn how to use computers – opening an entire new world. (Many seniors use library computers to keep in touch with grandchildren and friends, make travel plans and check on doctors and medication!)
  • Libraries reach out to nursing homes, those who are homebound and those who face physical challenges.

Here's one more thing we hope everyone understands: Measure 26-114 is not a tax increase. It simply provides voters with a future tool to protect our libraries.

Measure 26-114 allows the creation of a special library district – in the future – but only with voter approval. This is not something our county charter currently allows.

We can support the future of our public libraries by supporting Measure 26-114.

Our libraries are always there for everybody, no matter what his circumstances. In these uncertain times, that's a real necessity – and something worth protecting.

PLEASE JOIN US IN VOTING YES FOR OUR LIBRARIES!

Sandy Barker - Volunteer, Central Library

Candace D. Morgan

(This information furnished by Janis Adler, Libraries Yes)

The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by Multnomah County, nor does the county warrant the accuracy or truth of any statements made in the argument.


ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

I'm a local resident who understands personally all that Multnomah County Library does to help people look for a job in this tough job market.

I had not worked for five years. Multnomah County Library's librarians and staff guided me through my search, giving me advice, access to computers and the internet, classes at the library and databases that I could not find on my own.

I started work eight months ago at a care facility for seniors and the disabled. It is a great job. I got it because of the library's help.

I relied on the staff and volunteers at my neighborhood library from the very beginning of my search. I used the computers and took workshops offered at my local branch. The staff coached me with the concrete advice I needed to succeed. Each person I worked with at the library gave me the support and encouragement I needed on my most discouraging days.

Of course, the library is used by many people, for many purposes – checking out books and materials, researching and using the internet.

That's why I'm supporting the library measure on the November ballot – Measure 26-114.

The measure is not a tax increase. It simply allows the library to have the option in the future to be protected through the creation of a special library district. It only creates the option, not the actual district. And that would require voter approval.

The library helped me and is helping hundreds of other people in all kinds of circumstances.

I hope you'll join me in helping out the library. Vote Yes on Measure 26-114.

Amy Mamdouh

(This information furnished by Janis Adler)

The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by Multnomah County, nor does the county warrant the accuracy or truth of any statements made in the argument.