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CITY COUNCIL: Library Board offers recommendation; business license plan tabled

The following are two items of interest from Monday night's meeting of the Enumclaw City Council. More details will be posted later.

LIBRARY BOARD OFFERS RECOMMENDATION

A new tax on Enumclaw property owners to support the public library was suggested Monday night by members of the Library Advisory Board.

The small, volunteer group had opposed the city's aborted plan to push a ballot item that would have turned library operations over to the independent King County Library System. That proposal fizzled and the Library Board was recently asked to offer a definitive recommendation.

Library Director Bob Baer read the board's recommendation during Monday's gathering of the Enumclaw City Council.

The board's written statement said members have repeatedly heard the public's desire to see library functions remain in local hands. To accomplish that, the board has recommended a levy lid lift that would allow citizens to vote on a measure that would generate another 40 cents in taxes for every $1,000 of assessed property value. That would create a pot of money figured at $421,000 annually, guaranteed for the library.

The board added a desire to see the city contribute $260,000 annually from its general fund, giving the library an annual operating budget of approximately $681,000. During a presentation to council earlier this year, City Administrator Mike Thomas said $389,000 was allocated for library operations as part of the 2011 municipal budget.

BUSINESS LICENSE PLAN PUT ON HOLD

A plan by the city of Enumclaw to shift business licensing duties to the state was put on hold Monday night by members of the City Council.

Community Development Director Erica Shook had first taken the item to the council two weeks earlier.

There are multiple benefits to taking the city out of the licensing business, she said. First, it would free up between 90 and 120 hours of staff time annually, allowing personnel to tackle other duties. A second advantage, she said, is the change in policy would require all businesses operating in the city to obtain an Enumclaw license; presently, only those businesses with a physical address within the city limits are required to purchase an annual business license. That levels the playing field for city businesses, she explained.

Shook also noted the licensing process could be handled online, should the city join forces with the state, making the process easier for those in business.

While council members didn't voice disapproval, there was general agreement that such a move shouldn't be taken until the local business community has the opportunity to weigh in. Shook noted she has already agreed to meet with Rotary and would be willing to meet with Chamber of Commerce leadership as well.

A motion by Councilman Mike Ennis to table the issue was passed with only Councilman Sean Krebs objecting. Krebs had earlier stated his belief that the issue had sufficiently circulated throughout the community and there was no need to delay passage.

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