No reason for yes vote on Enumclaw Library annexation | Letters
March 19, 2012 · 7:21 PM
There is movement afoot to give the Enumclaw city library over to the King County Library System. I believe this would be a sad event and a move that could have regrettable consequences. I realize that Enumclaw, like many other municipalities, is facing budget constraints and I sympathize with the government officials that are doing their best to make the system keep working.
Arguments in favor of losing the city library to the King County Library System would offer services superior to what is offered presently. Patrons would have electronic access to all the books in KC library. This may be true but Enumclaw library has always obtained books for me that I requested, even from so far away as Alaska and Oregon. I believe that many city library users are unaware that they can request interlibrary loaned books. King County may indeed offer a streamlined system for inter-library loans, but what could we lose by turning our library over to the KCLS?
Most governmental organizations are facing budget crunches. If it should come to pass that the King County Library System decides that the Enumclaw branch is a low priority amongst its many other facilities, then the citizens of Enumclaw, users of the library, would find they have no control over the fate of this important community resource.
Almost 10 years ago, King County announced that it would close the local pool. It was through a grassroots effort that the citizens of Enumclaw swayed the city government to take over the pool by agreeing by vote to a small property tax increase. Now Enumclaw can be proud of this wonderful facility that, like a library, brings so many benefits to its citizens. Area residents would have been hard pressed to mount any kind of political movement to stop the county from reneging on its commitment to keep the pool open. Similarly, King County Library System could do anything it wanted with our library and citizens would be virtually powerless to prevent it.
I have talked to many people who believe that King County Library System would do a better job providing for their library needs than the city library can. I do not believe that people would vote to keep the library status quo. People want a vibrant, modern, efficient library system and they should get it. King County would levy 50 cents per $1,000 property value for the library. So letting go of your library to some distant, larger government entity is of dubious benefit. You would not be saving money.
The city of Enumclaw could raise taxes less than 50 cents (maybe 10 cents to 15 cents per $1,000) and use that money to bring the city library the needed improvements. People considering this kind of tax increase should expect to hear from the library what it would do with the new funds and how it would move itself up to standards of modern 21st century libraries.
Enumclaw has had a library for 90 years. Times are rough and now the city stands to lose it for good.
Take pride in your small town, USA. Attend city planning meetings and Library Board meetings. Talk this issue over with your friends and neighbors. Consider the irreversible consequences of giving up this extension of your education system, this extension of your home entertainment system, this extension of your small town identity. Consider voting against the annexation of the Enumclaw library by the King County Library System and explore alternative solutions to keep the Enumclaw library as part of your community.