Library vote requires 60 percent super-majority

By Meg Olson

This November, Point Roberts voters will be asked to approve up to $300,000 in bridge funding to build a new library for the community.

The proposed library facilities renovation levy on the November 8 ballot is a one-time property tax levy that would collect up to approximately 51 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, or $102 for a $200,000 home.

The renovation of the Julius fire station adjacent to the community center into a new library is ready to be put out to bid. The Friends of the Point Roberts Library have already raised $540,000 for the project and taxpayers are being asked to pay for the remainder of the estimated $840,000 project cost.

The new 2,500-square-foot library would replace the existing 900-square-foot library in the community center. The additional space would allow more room for more books, magazines, CDs, gathering spaces and other library resources.

If voters approve the levy, the parks district will put the project out to bid and move towards construction. Only the amount of additional revenue that would be needed to complete the project, up to $300,000, will be collected from Point Roberts taxpayers.

  1. I am responding to your letter to the community regarding the letters to the editor from Linda Hughes and Stan Rifle. Having lived in Point Roberts for 35 years, I have supported many improvements over the years: Fire Hall, Health Clinic and raising money for the Library fund.

    Several years ago, I approached the Whatcom County Library System to see about the feasibility to turn Brewster’s into the library. At the time, we discussed the opportunity to preserve one of the last heritage buildings in Point Roberts while providing a larger space for the library with all the zoning and infrastructure in place. They felt the increase of square footage would provide growth for the library with space for programs.

    The heritage home could be configured to add space for existing programs: expanding internet and children’s programs while providing meeting space that could be leased out for community events: children events, book signings, writing workshops, showcasing local artists, or travel presentations. We discussed the advantage of leasing the espresso counter as a way to enhance the library, drawing more people in, while helping with offsetting operational costs. We also discussed the programs and events Brewster’s was holding each year that could be used for fund raising for additional library expenses and services.

    At the time, I was told Whatcom County Library System does not purchase property and if I was willing to donate it, they saw the space would work for the much-needed expansion.

    As many of you know, the Brewster’s property is for sale. The building is priced at $529,000. Through your efforts, the community has raised $540,000+ funds. The Point Roberts library could be moved tomorrow with few upgrades. The building is already zoned for use as a library, there is sufficient parking as required by the county, a well maintained septic system, and is handicapped accessible. There would be no need to levy the community for anticipated construction costs, costs that will continue to rise as county regulations change and industry increases in material and labor. If a levy was approved, money could be used to provide additional services and events or to buffer operating costs for years to come. If the levy is not approved, the move could be made right away.

    The Brewster’s house, built in 1908 for the George and Barker Cannery holds historical significance for Point Roberts. There are not many historical buildings left. Preserving Brewster’s would be a great way to provide a home for library for the community while preserving our heritage for many years to come.
    Joan (Roberts) Dickerson


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