What is an Library Capital Facilty Area? In short, its a special district created between a library district and a county (and a city, if the proposed library would be inside city limits) to fund the construction/purchase and maintenance of a library building.
So, given you can learn all about LCFAs in the links above, I’ll just note some good things and bad things about a possible Yelm Library Capital Facility Area.
1. Yelm (as a city) would be “off the hook” in terms of providing a building. City taxpayers would be on the hook, along with any number of rural taxpayers who might be part of the district. The great thing about LCFAs is that they can geographically expand beyond city boundaries to tax county residents for a library building inside city boundaries.
2. They take a public vote. Do you want a new library? Well, it isn’t going to be as easy as just lobbying some elected officials to build it, you’re going to have to take your case to voters. An election is not only a great way to meet your neighbors, but its also a great way to lobby for libraries in general and promote use of the library.
3. Build, purchase and maintain. This concept isn’t just good for building the library, it can also be used for maintaining a library building in the future.
1. It takes 60 percent approval. Because an LCFA would allow taxation above a level allowed by the state constitution, it would need approval by 60 percent of the voters in the district. Local schools were recently relieved of this requirement, but libraries still fall under it.
That said, I might not consider this such a bad thing in Yelm. Here is what I came up with when I looked at school levies ran by the Yelm School District in the past ten years:
- February 2008, 51 percent “yes”
- April 2004, 64 percent
- Feb 2004, 60 percent
- Feb 2004, 62 percent
- Feb 2002, 60 percent and 54 percent
- April 2000, 65 percent
- Feb 2000, 58 percent
In the past 10 years, there were 8 levies on the ballot, all of which were supported by over 50 percent and over half of those met the 60 percent supermajority.
So, if you did decide to go to the voters in and around Yelm and try to make the case for a new library, I think you’d have a pretty good chance of getting over 60 percent approval.