Park district puts library budget measure before voters

The Point Roberts Park and Recreation District commissioners have approved a ballot measure asking voters for up to $300,000 to make up a projected budget shortfall for the new library project, and they’re looking for community members to argue for and against the measure.

At the district’s regular July 11 meeting, commissioners voted 4-1, with chair Linda Hughes opposed, to submit the proposition to voters at the November 8 general election. The district has until August 2 to submit the resolution authorizing the ballot measure to the county along with the names of those who will form pro and con committees and will prepare a statement for this fall’s voters pamphlet. Those statements are due August 8 and the committees have until August 11 to prepare rebuttals to opposing statements.

Park commissioners agreed to schedule a special meeting on July 25 at 6 p.m. at the community center to appoint committee members. Friends of the Point Roberts Library (FOPRL) chair Judy Ross said members of the organization would gladly take on the pro position. Community members interested in serving on the committees for or against the proposed levy can contact parks commissioners at

Following a five-year fundraising campaign, FOPRL has raised $543,000, and they have about $500,000 left in the bank after design and permitting costs, according to the park district.

A newly revised estimate from architect David King puts the project cost at $798,000, commissioner Stephen Falk said. “But we may try and do some things as community projects,” in order to trim costs.

The one-time levy not to exceed $300,000 would  transform Julius Fire Station into the new library, but if funds are left over or if the project does not go ahead, that money will stay with the parks district to be used for capital projects at the discretion of commissioners.

The district’s regular operating levy currently collects approximately $50,000 per year. Voters are also paying off a $250,000 general obligation bond approved in 2013 for capital improvements to the community center. In 2016, that translated to a tax burden of approximately $28 per year for the owners of a $200,000 home.

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