A business owner knows a good deal when they see one, they also know how to spot a bad deal. Renton business owners realize that joining KCLS means they will see a big increase in their  taxes and in this tough economy that is just not what they need. Just look at our own Downtown community, we have lost so many businesses in the last year.

So, I want to give a big THANKS to all the businesses in Renton who have helped us educate voters on the facts about annexation into the KCLS. You have allowed us to inform more people than you know.

Happy Delusions     

Liberty Cafe

DC’s Bar and Grill          

Common Ground Coffee and Cupcakes

PIP Printing               

The Comic Den

R&R Graphics                  

CD Danza Salon and Spa

Jet City Espresso                

Enjoy Teriyaki

Teriyaki Boxes                   

 Torero’s

Pieces Quilt Shop Inc 

Images Salon

A-1 Vacuum

Lifetime Muffler

Go Deli

Mroczek Brothers Auctioneers

Renton Western Wear

Sewing Machine Service Company

We realize that the pro-annexation campaign has the support of a lot of elected officials and even senators but we have business owners. We have  small business owners, many that are in their shops every day working hard in our community – they know what is best for this community because they are in touch with this community. Don’t be swayed by the names be convinced by the facts.  Vote “NO” on Prop 1 and keep our local library independent.

I saw something very cool tonight as I made my first climb up Renton Hill. I looked over to my left and on the corner of Houser and Mill is a “Vote No” sign! It was so cool, I jabbed my friend and said “look at the sign”.

We made our way up the hill and as I started to look at the doors I noticed that house after house had Vote No flyers rubber banded to their doors. We are out there and we are making a difference.

Thanks to everyone who is out there working hard, let’s keep it up only a few weeks left.

Get involved here

Come to the Renton City Council meeting tonight – 7th Floor Renton City Hall 7pm.

Let’s fill the seats at City Hall and let the City and everyone who watches that we are not going to let KCLS take over our local, independent library.

If you would like to say something at the meeting make sure you show up early, you have to sign up.

Please pass this information on to anyone you know who likes the Renton Public Library and wants to see it remain independent, I know I will be there.

Written by Librophile – Thanks

Most of the arguments made by the pro-annexation group involve throwing around numbers, and I feel compelled to try and clear up several points.

It’s almost impossible to compare in a logical manner Renton’s operating budget of $1.8 million to KCLS’s budget of $90 million, or the number of Renton staff (38) to the number of KCLS staff (1200). It’s like comparing apples to …….overdeveloped grapefruit (which, like KCLS, also becomes flavorless once it gets too big). What these numbers fail to point out is that the much smaller budget and staff numbers for Renton are concentrated in only 2 branches, and for KCLS those numbers can get pretty watered down once they are spread thinly over 44+ branches. So this kind of comparison is, well, fruitless!

The pro-annexation group also often compares the number of items available in the two systems. Renton currently holds 190,000 items versus KCLS’s 4 million items. What this comparison fails to point out is that those numbers are referring to individual items not the SELECTION of different items. Renton has a very strong collection of both popular as well as esoteric books, movies, music, magazines, and more. Renton doesn’t have to acquire hundreds of copies of the SAME title to satisfy the number of patrons it serves. KCLS provides more COPIES of the EXACT SAME ITEMS because they serve so many more citizens countywide. After all, they are the “3rd busiest public library in the United States.” Although, I personally don’t see that as a strength. Is bigger really better? Don’t we just become a faceless number when we become part of institutions that big? Oh, and I think it’s been mentioned before, but it’s worth repeating, the wait time for hold requests
and new books is infinitely better with Renton. And the best part is, if Renton doesn’t have it, they can get it for their patrons either via Interlibrary loan or by fulfilling a purchase request for the library.

The pro-annexation group also likes to point out how the Renton Library is “completely outdated,” and “can’t compete with KCLS.” Well, there is no argument that the buildings are outdated (and Renton residents will have to pay out of pocket to replace those regardless of which way the vote goes), but the services and materials at Renton are most definitely not outdated. Renton provides many of the same technologies and programs as KCLS branches. They provide programs for all ages, including children’s program, adult programs, and all ages programs. They also have an outreach librarian for services to Homebound, daycares, and senior centers. They provide Internet computers, free Wi-Fi, as well as online research databases (including some that KCLS does not provide), and they will be providing downloadable audio books in the near future through a partial grant provided by the Washington Library Association.

As the article in this month’s Renton Magazine says, Renton Libraries may surprise you.

My husband and I are 35 year residents concerned about the proposed annexation of Renton Library by KCLS. I’ve been studying the Renton annexation brochure and I find two glaring inconsistencies.

Renton City Council tries to make the point for annexation in their example of “Comparative Household Costs” on page 7 without mentioning the third possibility. That’s Renton Library continuing as is until the master plan can be implemented, continuing the reciprocal use agreement with KCLS. That figure would be .26, not .65 as shown. There would be no tax increase.

In that same brochure it’s stated that although KCLS would take over library operations, buying land and paying for new buildings or improvements would be Renton’s responsibility. Under “Would Renton Library Facilities Close?” Renton’s annexation brochure states, “In the future (2011 or later), the City of Renton and KCLS would develop and construct replacement facilities for both branches in the locations to be acquired by the city.” Then it continues “The city would be responsible for the cost of development and construction of both branches”. We taxpayers still have to pay for these improvements regardless of who implements them, and we’d have no direct control over costs.

After researching the issue I find that the annexation proposal was entered into when Fairwood expressed concerns about losing their KCLS branch (which would not occur) if they were annexed. It seems to be driven by Renton’s desire to annex another tax area, not really by the good of Renton citizens as a whole.

After careful study I don’t believe it will benefit me as a taxpayer to vote yes on annexation for several reasons.

1. Any new library grounds and building will still have to be paid for by the citizens of Renton – as spelled out in the City’s own brochure. We’d pay but KCLS would oversee the project. If I have to pay for the construction costs of the new facilities anyway, I would just as soon retain control over costs by funding the Renton Library Master Plan.

2. The Renton Annexation brochure says, “Ownership of the new library properties and buildings would be transferred to KCLS after construction.” Would the city be repaid for costs incurred? Would the buildings and improvements be transferred at the original estimated cost? At the actual cost of construction or at Fair Market Value? Who would make the valuation?

3. I was curious so I checked the state audit conducted for the KCLS building plan and found that there were cost overruns and not enough planning or oversight. I don’t really see a benefit to funding badly managed construction for KCLS out of my own pocket. http://www.sao.wa.gov/auditreports/auditreportfiles/ar1001408.pdf

4. Renton citizens would have their assessment for KCLS increased if Proposition 1 passes with no guarantee of new construction or better service. KCLS has already cut their operating budget for this year and will have to cut again if Prop 1 doesn’t pass. This doesn’t make me feel very secure about the annexation. What guarantee do we have that library service will continue with the same high quality, or continue at all? What would prevent KCLS from moving library services to Fairwood only, or Skyway, to consolidate and save money once they gain control? See http://www.kcls.org/prop1/

5. Take a look at the general fund summaries on pages 9 and 10 of the KCLS proposed 2010 budget and you can see where budgetary cuts have been made – land and building have been cut completely. How does KCLS propose to fund improvements for Renton when they have to make severe budget cuts if Prop 1 doesn’t pass? If Renton Library was to continue underfunded, as is, and the City were to pay the fee to KCLS for reciprocal borrowing, this would cost the taxpayers of Renton far less than the current proposal. Unless of course KCLS and the city don’t intend to fund improvements at all in 2010 or beyond, in which case the citizens won’t have to pay for land and buildings. And, the citizens are back to the same position they’d be in with the Renton Library continuing as is underfunded. In that case there’s no point to annexation.

At this point, due to these inconsistencies, and budgetary constraints admitted to by KCLS, I have strong doubts that annexation will benefit the taxpayers of Renton. It looks to me like it will cost us money, restrict our options and lower the quality of library service.

Beth Asher

We will be holding a meeting this Sunday, January 3rd at 2pm at New Life Christian Church in Renton to talk more about what we can do to help keep the Renton Public Library local.

If you are interested in keeping control or our local library, having the option of using 2 libraries and keeping your taxes lower you should join us.

New Life Church is located at 15711 152nd Ave SE, Renton 98058.

The Vote Knower’s have created this awesome flyer for library supporters to put in their car windows. Unfortunately, the internet does not take kindly to Word documents so I can not link it here on the blog. However, if you would like to show your support around town for the Renton Public Library just contact me below and I will send one your way.

The future of the Renton Public Library depends on us spreading the word about remaining independent and we need all the support we can get.