The Yelm Library Capital Facility Area (what it could be)

This is the third post in response to Friday’s story in the NVN about the Yelm Library.

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.

This document is a much better rundown on all the technical aspects of an LCFA, so please read it. I’ve also earlier (and shortly) reflected on LCFAs and Yelm here.

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.

Good:

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.

Bad:

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.

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5 Comments

Filed under buildings, Chat from the community, Yelm

5 responses to “The Yelm Library Capital Facility Area (what it could be)

  1. Rick Homchick

    Great series of articles, can’t thank you enough for the fresh ideas.

    Yelm-Rainier, however, is a soft TRL area based on how they voted on the lid lift (http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/auditor/Elections/History/results_05-09.htm)

    The four Yelm districts reported 247 approvals of 703 votes.
    The two Rainier districts reported 74 approvals of 271 votes.

    33% approval rating, 27% voting.

    The facts above could point to another opportunity with an LCFA effort, however.

  2. emmettoconnell

    Hi Rick,

    Sorry for taking so long to approve your comment. When the notice came through I probably thought it was already posted without really looking.

    Anyway, good point, I’d be more willing to agree that its an opportunity, that a better case can be made out Yelm way for library services. A directed campaign on an actual library building would focus the conversation a bit.

  3. Pingback: Restating my position on the Yelm library situation | supports an active, informed community

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  5. Pingback: Misunderstanding of levy capacity of libraries behind Yelm situation | supports an active, informed community

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