There are a lot of us out there who are not “numbers people. However, the Save Renton Library campaign is lucky to have a “numbers” guy on hand but he would never admit that – he would just say he is a conservative. Anyways, Renton Ben asked the City of Renton to re-examine the numbers that they presented to voters when the annexation discussion started.

Check out Randy Corman’s Blog  for the complete discussion.

Renton Ben is responsible for this press release that was given today by the City of Renton. For me this information is amazing, the price comparison is astounding please go and read for yourself.

If you have checked out the Renton For KCLS Now site and looked at their “facts” you are probably really confused at this point. We here at the “Vote No” campaign can understand your confusion so we are going to try to debunk the KCLS facts to the best of our ability.

Here is one such fact that needs some clarification from the KCLS site:

“MYTH: The current tax dollars being collected for Renton Library Services ($0.26/$1000 AV) will still be collected by the City of Renton after annexation to KCLS.
FACT: This statement is a misreading of the funding chart provided by the City and is not the way Renton’s finances work. In order to show voters a common unit of comparison, Renton’s cost analysis is presented in terms of a property tax since that is the revenue source that funds library districts. In reality, the City does not currently collect $0.26/$1000 AV in order to pay for the library, but uses an amount of general fund revenue (equivalent to $0.26 per $1000 AV) totaling about $1.8 million per year. The City would not ‘keep’ an extra $0.26/$1000 in property tax revenue if the voters choose to join KCLS. It is true that the City would save approximately $1.8 million in 2010 by not funding library operations.”

Yes, it is true that Renton’s library funding is not collected in the form of property tax but, like the City of Renton, we have used that as a simple reference to explain where the money that funds the library comes from.

The money that was used to fund the library will still be collected and put in the general fund. As of today The City has made no plans as to how that $1.8M would be spent. Proponents of annexation want that money to go to emergency services like police and fire because they think funding the library takes away from these vital city services. However, the City has not taken an official position as to how that money would be spent.

In fact if annexation passes the City of Renton would not see a savings in their general fund for 2010 because the agreement between the City of Renton and KCLS is that Renton would be required to pay KCLS for library operations for 2010. This makes sense since KCLS is not going to start to collect Renton property tax dollars till 2011, so who is floating the bill for 2010 operations.

Just to state that again, The City of Renton general fund still has to pay for library services for 2010. Here are some minutes from KCLS where they state that (check out page 2 3rd bullet). If this is wrong I invite anyone to provide us with documentation proving it. We have looked and looked and have not found anything to disprove it. That means that any savings of the general fund wouldn’t happen until 2011.

Now, here is where a KCLS “fact” is actually right, the later part of the KCLS fact statement says, “However, the City would also be required to build two new library buildings at some point in the future. Although there have been no official pronouncements on this matter, City Officials have indicated that since Renton would be responsible for replacing two branches upon joining KCLS, the City could use/continue the current investment it makes in libraries by issuing bonds to build those two facilities, paying debt service on those bonds for facilities over time. The City has acknowledged that the chart is confusing, but offers the fairest comparison between the two system’s costs.” It is important to note for those who feel additional emergency services should be funded out of this $1.8M in savings to know that the City has not guaranteed to add emergency services and that the City could choose to use this money to build new buildings in the future.

So, the facts are really this:

  • The City will continue to collect the money that used to fund the library, which means Renton taxpayers will see no savings by annexing to KCLS.
  • The City has to pay for library operations for the 2010 fiscal year even if annexation passes.
  • The City could decide to use the $1.8M previously spent on library operations to build new buildings that would ultimately be owned by KCLS.

This is a very long entry but sometimes disproving “facts” is a lot of work. So, thanks for hanging in there on this one and when you get your ballot in the mail do not hesitate. Open it, Vote No, put a stamp on it and put it in the mail.

Thanks so much for reading and don’t forget to “Vote No”.

*Please note – I just got word from the Library Director, Bette Anderson, that savings to the general fund would not be seen till 2011.***

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

I think there is an important issue about annexation that needs to be clarified and that is the building of new library facilities.

Based on the Library Master Plan Study the Renton Public Library needs to build new facilities to get up to date with technology and to accomodate Renton’s ever-growing population (page 42). This needs to happen whether we annex to KCLS or not.

One of the arguments that the pro-annexation campaign gives for joining KCLS is the improvement of exsisting buildings and the eventual building of  new buildings. Materials out there in favor of annexation leads voters to believe that just by annexing into KCLS we will get new buildings. This is very misleading and it is not true.

Under KCLS Renton residents will eventually get new buildings but they will have to pay additional for it. Let me state that again, the increase in taxes that residents will see if they annex into KCLS will not pay for new library buildings. When KCLS feels it is the right time for Renton to get new library buildings it will hold an election asking voters to increase their property taxes once again to pay for new buildings.

Now, here is something that has bothered me about annexation from the very beginning. After Renton residents pay for a new building it will not be property of the City of Renton, ownership of the new building and the property that it sits on will be given – or as the document states “title would transfer to KCLS(page 2 first bullet point). The City of Renton, essentially its residents, will have no stake in the new library that they just paid to build. This seems to be the tiny detail that the pro-annexation campaign always seems to leave out.

If voters decide to keep the Renton Public Library independent and voters decide to fund new libraries the citizens of Renton can be assured that the Renton Public Library will be owned by the City and it’s residents.

Please pass this information along to anyone who is thinking that annexation is the right move for the Renton Public Library:

  • Annexation to KCLS does not give Renton new library buildings.
  • Residents will have increased taxes to pay for a building that won’t even be owned by the City.
  • New buildings have to adhere to KCLS complex site selection criteria which is great for corporations or those on a quest for global library domination but not great for Renton.

Vote No On Prop 1

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.