$45.66 per year: money well spent

Here’s what we wrote one year ago, when the Santa Clara County
Library system asked voters to approve a $42 parcel tax to replace
a $33.66 tax that’s ending in June:
Here’s what we wrote one year ago, when the Santa Clara County Library system asked voters to approve a $42 parcel tax to replace a $33.66 tax that’s ending in June:

“The library parcel tax is sensible, not suffocating … Having a library that’s open enough hours, that has a wide-ranging book collection and a staff that is professional and caring is clearly in the community’s best interest. And county librarians aren’t pulling down six-figure salaries and benefits that make private sector employees wince.”

Sadly, the Santa Clara County Library system just missed reaching the difficult two-thirds approval level necessary to pass the parcel tax, and stiff library cuts that were described in that editorial, including, “… a 21 percent cut in hours; 35,000 fewer books … purchased each year; award-winning services … trimmed,” became reality.

Now, the library is coming to voters again, this time with two measures on a mail-in ballot that will arrive in mailboxes in early April. Measure A seeks to continue the $33.66 parcel tax for another 10 years. Measure B asks for an additional $12 that would reverse cuts last year’s failure caused. Measures A and B both need a two-thirds vote to pass.

Passage of Measure A alone does not ensure that current service levels will continue because inflation is increasing. Measure A alone does not cover any increases in costs the library will be forced to bear. So, Measure A is not enough. South Valley residents should vote yes on both measures.

The reasons are the same as one year ago, recapped here:

n The library is efficiently run on a $26 million annual budget; the Santa Clara County Library is consistently rated one of the top libraries of its size in the country; library services help the community by providing literacy services, access to technology and children’s reading programs; demand for those services has increased dramatically in the last decade due to population growth, school budget cuts and the increasing role the Internet is playing in our lives.

n All taxes levied within a city are returned to that city’s library to pay for books, materials, hours and services.

The reasons are the same, but the need is more urgent. With the end of the parcel tax near, another failure means even more drastic cuts, layoffs and fewer resources to borrow during even more limited library hours.

We are blessed with a well-run, fiscally responsible library system. Let’s restore the hours and services it offers our community to previous levels. Let’s help the many community members who rely on the library. Let’s show our support for an agency that educates, informs, connects, entertains and assists our community and does it so efficiently.

Vote yes on Measure A and Measure B.

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