Plans to unify the El Dorado County library tax system faded on Nov. 7 with the failure of the special tax initiative, Measure L.
Measure L, which would have leveled the playing field between the five zones in the county by establishing a $17.58 per parcel tax across the region for 15 years, did not get the two-thirds majority support it needed to pass. Out of the 69,552 people who voted on the initiative, 55.71 percent of voters opposed the measure, while 44.29 percent approved of it.
"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," El Dorado County Library Director Jeanne Amos said.
Amos said she thinks it's likely that the county will continue with the individual zone taxes after the failure of Measure L. Unifying and standardizing the county tax across all five zones was a brand-new concept, she said.
Some opponents of the measure argued against the $8.79 annual tax on unimproved parcels of land, Amos said. And while South Lake Tahoe tax payers already pay the base $17.58, residents of Zone H that encompasses the Placerville and Pollock Pines areas have never passed a library tax.
When the current South Lake Tahoe tax expires in two years, the voters in the area will be likely be faced with another library issue on the ballot, Friends of the Library Vice President Kay Henderson said. She said she doesn't know if that issue will concern a South Lake Tahoe-specific tax or if the county will attempt another standardized regional tax.
El Dorado County Library - South Lake Tahoe Branch librarian Katharine Miller said she'd hoped for 15 years off the campaign trail if Measure L had passed. It would have ensured library support for another decade and a half, she said.
"Libraries are not a mandated service for the county. Without this tax measure, we don't have the fiscal support to ensure a library for the next 15 years. It's a key resource for the community, one of those resources that serves everyone," Miller said.