A 1/8-cent sales tax that supports Stanislaus County libraries would be extended for 12 years if voters approve a ballot measure later this year.
Tuesday evening, the Board of Supervisors could vote to put the countywide library tax measure on the November ballot. Since its inception in 1995, revenue from the 1/8-percent tax has averaged $7.2 million a year, funding 88 percent of the operations and service costs at the 13 branch libraries.
A dozen years would be the longest renewal for the library-funding mechanism. More than 80 percent of voters favored renewing the library tax in June 2012. It is scheduled to expire July 1, 2018.
Polling by Godbe Research last year revealed solid voter support for a 12-year renewal. The measure will require two-thirds approval.
In the 10 years before leaders established a local solution for libraries in 1995, the financial relationships between the state and counties shifted money to other priorities. A series of budget cuts left smaller libraries open 10 hours a week. The lights at the Modesto library were on only five days a week and patrons had limited access to reference services.
The Library Advisory Board, and then county Librarian Starrett Kreissman, developed the 1/8-cent sales tax proposal to revitalize libraries. The original measure was approved in March 1995, and extensions won approval in 1999, 2004 and 2012.
Today, the libraries in Modesto, Ceres, Turlock, Salida, Oakdale, Riverbank, Patterson and Waterford are open six days a week. The Denair, Empire, Hughson, Keyes and Newman libraries serve the public five days a week.
Officials report rising circulation numbers for books, DVDs, books on compact discs, newspapers and magazines, and the library has a variety of electronic books, audio books, movies and music.
Ken Carlson: 209-578-2321, @KenCarlson16
The Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors will hold a regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the basement chamber of Tenth Street Place, at 1010 10th St. in Modesto. The following items will be considered:
– 5 p.m. closed session on the court case, People v. Gerit Sand, et al. Also scheduled for closed session is an update on labor negotiations.
– Amended lease agreement with Golden Hills Solar LLC for land adjacent to Fink Road Landfill.
– Agreement with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad for signal installation at Geer Road and Santa Fe Avenue.