By Judy Ross
What’s happening with the new library?
The short answer: lots is happening, but nothing that’s very visible. There are two strands, though.
First, the funding line. The Friends of the Point Roberts Library have stopped actively raising funds, although we still receive and gratefully accept donations. The Point Roberts Park and Recreation District has placed an “up-to-$300,000” levy on the November 8 ballot. The reason for that “up-to” phrase is that by the time of the vote, we’ll have a much more solid idea of the actual costs. But the best estimate now is that to move to construction, we’ll need no more and perhaps less than $300,000. The total estimate also includes a 10 percent contingency, so the budget takes possible surprises into account.
The levy will set a one-time increase in property taxes of 51 cents per $1,000 of property assessment. Thus, in 2017, owners of a property assessed at $200,000 will pay, one time, no more than $102. And then we’ll all get a brand new library. Remember that no one is asking taxpayers to pay $840,000 for a new library.
The Friends have raised $540,000 in private donations from businesses, foundations and individuals. So property taxes will cover only about a third of the costs. If Bill Gates dropped by and offered to give us $540,000 to build a new library if property owners paid the final $300,000, we’d probably think, “That’s a good deal.”
Second, the construction line. We have final design drawings and a final budget. We began the permitting process in July. That is an ongoing process, but we are pleased to report that the county has accepted the current septic field, but will require a new septic tank. That is a small cost increase; requiring a new field would be a much bigger increase, so we are pleased with that outcome. In addition, we are not required to do any wetlands mitigation. Further, it looks like the issue of additional parking spaces will be resolved in our favor. We expect the rest to go through pretty routinely, but with permitting you never know. Stay tuned.
That’s what’s happening. We’re working on a “Vote Yes on the Levy” campaign; the parks district will be getting ready for construction bidding. It’s a big second stage. We’re glad that you’ve been with us so far, and hope for your continued support.