SEQUIM — A proposal to expand a building that library officials has said is too small and in need of an upgrade fell just short of approval in Tuesday night’s general election.
The majority of residents in Sequim and surrounding areas voted for the North Olympic Library System’s $12.4 million bond proposal to expand the Sequim Library, but not enough to meet the supermajority 60 percent threshold.
Proposition 2 garnered 7,143 votes, or 58 percent, to 5,166 votes, or 41.8 percent, against the measure.
The proposal would pay for enlargement of the 1983 Sequim Library building from 6,050 square feet to 17,000 square feet.
Residents needed to approve two library system proposals, but voters approved only Proposition No. 1 (7, 961 votes, or 64.8 percent, in favor, to 4,313 votes, or 35.14 percent against) that creates the Sequim Library Capital Facilities Area tax district. The district has roughly the same boundaries as Sequim School District.
Another count of ballots in the all-mail election is set for Friday afternoon.
“Based on early results, the current ballot count does not look promising, but, we are going to wait for the next official count before commenting further,” said Margaret Jakubcin, NOLS director, in a statement Tuesday night.
“Regardless of the final outcome, the library wants to thank all who have been so committed to the community’s vision for its future library,” she continued.
“The library building project connected community members to each other, and to the library, in a unique way as we worked together with a shared vision. The outpouring of support that NOLS has experienced during this time has been truly inspiring.
“The 64 percent approval of Proposition 1 is gratifying, and I think it clearly reflects strong local support for the library.”
Paula Barnes, campaign steering committee member, said obtaining 60 percent approval for a bond measure is a challenging threshold.
“We’re very grateful to the voters who showed their support for the library by forming the tax district,” Barnes said.
“We’re sad the vote for the bond issue is so close, and right now it’s not close enough.”
Barnes said she has some hope for the ballots and votes still coming but is proud of all the effort the campaign and volunteers put into getting the word out to the community.
“We had so many dedicated and hard-working volunteers,” she said. “I can’t think of anything more we could have done to get the word out.”
Sequim Library expansion would have cost $13.4 million, with $1 million coming from library system reserves and the rest coming from tax levies and bonds that are paid off over the next 21 years.
The expansion would have cost taxpayers a little less than $5 per month (for owners of properties with an assessed value of $250,000).
Jakubcin said previously that efforts to expand the Sequim Library has been a long-standing community conversation.
“I think the need is pretty well understood,” Jakubcin said.
“A big part of our effort is educating people about the fact that the [Sequim] library is too small,” Barnes said during the campaign.
Erin Hawkins is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach her at [email protected].
Michael Dashiell is the editor of the Sequim Gazette of the Olympic Peninsula News Group. Reach him at [email protected].