Library Measure 26-143 passes, creating stable, dedicated funding district for county libraries

PORTLAND, Ore. — Nov. 6, 2012 — Multnomah County Measure 26-143 was approved today by Multnomah County voters. The initial vote count indicates 62 percent yes to 38 percent no. The measure’s approval creates a permanent library district to fund library services and hours beginning in 2013 at a rate limited to $1.24 per $1,000 of assessed value.

This dedicated funding source will restore and retain library services and prevent further reductions in services, programs, activities and hours.

First established in 1864, what is now Multnomah County Library will have stable and dedicated funding after depending on temporary three- and five-year serial levies since 1976. The most recent three-year levy was passed in May 15, 2012. This levy will now phase out on July 1, 2013.

The library will provide updated information about the library district transition on its website in the weeks and months to come, including opportunities for public input on the ways in which the library can best meet community needs now and into the future.

Multnomah County Library provides an essential and unique set of services, tailored to the needs of individual neighborhoods and communities. Library services have adapted over time to meet shifting demographics and changing technological demands. Multnomah County Library supports and complements the services of Multnomah County, cities, school districts, human services agencies, and community groups.

Funding and budget

Multnomah County Library is the second busiest library in the United States, but it has operated on what is essentially temporary funding. This year, about 55% of the library’s annual revenue is derived from the recently approved three-year local option levy. Multnomah County’s General Fund provides 25% of funding. Another 6% is from one-time-only county money to mitigate service cuts, 7% is from diminishing library reserves, and the remainder is from fees, fines, grants, and other incidental sources.

Each year, Multnomah County Library develops and publishes its operating budget as part of the Multnomah County budget process, which includes numerous opportunities for public review and input prior to adoption.