Lake Stevens Library is annexed into Sno-IsleBY PAM STEVENS | EDITOR Will we or will we not be annexed into the Sno-Isle Library system? After weeks of debate the answer is finally here.
Citizens of Lake Stevens voted “yes” to joining Sno-Isle and after all votes were counted over 60 percent of those who voted decided that the City of Lake Stevens could use the $515,000, which is currently being paid to Sno-Isle for managing the local library, and put it to use somewhere else within the city.
The City has held open houses and received many letters and phone calls regarding where citizens would like to see the money spent, if and when Lake Stevens decided to annex into Sno-Isle. What they heard most was the need to have more paved sidewalks and parks.
“The majority of the feedback overwhelmingly showed that citizens want the dollars spent on sidewalks and parks,” Jan Berg, City Administrator said.
The Mayor and city council also feel the need to increase sidewalks and parks.
“It definitely helps in the city and what we really need to do with sidewalks and parks,” Mayor Vern Little said. “The money we will now have in our budget will help with our Safe Routes to School Project.”
The city recently applied for a grant, asking the state for 1.4 million dollars to fund sidewalk projects near Mt. Pilchuck Elementary and North Lake Middle Schools. The city currently has $400,000 in matching funds to go towards sidewalk projects but is hoping to be able to add to that amount now that the library funds, which are currently one-quarter of the city’s yearly budget, have been opened up.
“We’re talking to DOT right now to see if we can increase the matching funds, now that we know that next year we’ll have some dollars to put toward sidewalks. We are also working on some park plans,” Berg said. “It can increase our rating by having more matching funds, it’s a good way to leverage those dollars.”
The Frontier Heights community has contacted the city to see if they would be interested in taking over their park because they have had trouble gathering the funds needed to keep the playground equipment safe and to continue the park’s upkeep.
“We are putting together a cost analysis in seeing what it will take to make the playground equipment safe,” Berg said.
Although the cost to annex into the Sno-Isle Library system would be approximately eight dollars per month for a home valued at $300,000, voters were willing to pay up.
“It is great stable funding for the library for now and for the future and it helps them with their planning to go forward with the future of the library,” Little said. “The people of Lake Stevens make education a top priority and libraries are a part of that. A better educated community makes everything better. I was really pleased.”
As of May 22, 60.58 percent of voters had voted yes, while 39.42 percent voted no. Voter turnout was 29 percent.