GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Josephine Community Libraries is working to create its own library taxing district. The Grants Pass City Council is allowing citizens to vote, but the library must first collect 8500 signatures to get the measure on the ballot.
Since the petition began a couple of weeks ago, already an upwards of 600 signatures have been collected, but there is still a lot more collecting to do. On Monday, library personnel set outside of the Grants Pass library collecting signatures.
“There are ten lines per petition, and people are just asking if you are a registered voter, and if you are a registered voter we just ask them if they would mind signing,” said petition drive coordinator, Dick Cottrill.
Josephine County residents can expect to see signature gatherers setting up at local libraries and other high traffic areas throughout the next few months. The library needs to collect 8500 signatures by May 6 to get the library taxing district put on the November 2014 ballot.
The library said it has become stressed and strapped for cash due to the huge increase in demand.
“Our customer based increased by 100 percent in 3 years, but our staffing didn’t and our revenue didn’t… so our revenue isn’t keeping up with our customer base in order to serve them,” said Josephine Community Libraries executive director, Kate Lasky.
Josephine Community Libraries operates as a non-profit, and all of its employees work on a volunteer basis. The proposed ballot measure would bring in more revenue by creating a taxing district for library. If passed, residents would be taxed 39 cents on every $1,000 of assessed property value. That’s $78.00 a year on a $200,000 home.
“This is a district…like a school district or a fire district and the money that’s designated to the library will never go to any other department it will only go to the library,” said Lasky.
However first… Signatures must be gathered. A political action committee has been put in place, and so far they say they’re off to a good start.
If the Josephine Community Libraries reaches their goal of 8,500 signatures by May 2014, the signatures will be submitted to the County Clerk’s office, and from there the measure will go on the November 2014 ballot.