Support for the El Dorado County library special tax, Measure L, lagged in the polls as of 9 p.m. on Tuesday when about 45 percent of the ballots had been counted.
About 42 percent of voters cast their ballots for Measure L, while about 58 percent opposed the initiative.
The measure proposes to level the playing field between the five zones in El Dorado County by establishing a $17.58 per parcel tax across the region. Under the current system, each zone pays a different tax amount even though they all receive the same centralized services.
Then there's Zone H, which encompasses the Placerville and Pollock Pines areas and has never passed the library tax. The fact that residents in that region don't pay to support the library system is unequal and unfair, Friends of the Library Vice President Kay Henderson said Tuesday afternoon.
She said she hopes that Measure L can change that and is cautiously hopeful that the tax initiative will pass.
"Whenever I've talked to people, they've been positive. No one has spoken to me in opposition," Henderson said.
Measure L would replace the four existing taxes with a countywide parcel tax to support the county's libraries for 15 years. In South Lake Tahoe, which already has a $17.58 tax, voters won't feel many changes if the measure passes.
If the measure doesn't pass, South Lake Tahoe is guaranteed two more years of funding at the current $17.58 level. Once those two years are up, Henderson said she's not sure what will happen.
El Dorado County Library Director Jeanne Amos said she thinks it's likely that the county would go back to the individual zone taxes if Measure L fails. Unifying and standardizing the county tax across all five zones was a brand new concept, Amos said.
"We certainly knew it would be a challenge going into a presidential election year and a hostile political climate. It's so difficult to get the two-thirds vote. It's almost impossible," Amos said.