June 28th, 2011 | by NIGEL JAQUISS News | Posted In: Multnomah County, Politics

Get Ready For Your Library Tax

Cogen 2Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen

Last year, Multnomah County voters approved giving county commissioners the ability creation a permanent  taxing district to support the county's 19-branch library system.

The 2010 vote—which passed be a 3 to 1 margin—changed the county charter to give county commissioners the right to ask voters to tax themselves to support the library. The idea was pitched as a way of giving the library a permanent, stable funding source.

Not surprisingly, the library is now moving forward. Filings with the state today show that the Library Foundation gave the LibrariesYes! Committee $171,000. Friends of Multnomah County Library gave the committee another $50,000.

A permanent taxing district would end the county's current practice of funding libraries with renewable five-year levies and county general fund dollars. The current levy expires in June 2012, and so the county must either ask voters to renew it or move forward with a permanent district. That $221,000 will help pay for campaign in either case.

Although the latter is highly likely because it would take pressure off the county's strapped general fund, commissioners have not yet voted on what to do.

David Austin, a spokesman for Multnomah County, says commissioners may take that vote next month. 

"No decision has been been made yet about whether to pursue a district or a levy," Austin says.

 
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