Election votes certified, West Slope library loses by 14 votes | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Election votes certified, West Slope library loses by 14 votes

Jeff Munson

While South Lake Tahoe library officials can rest easy knowing that its residents fully backed last Tuesday’s ballot measure to continue funding, those on the West Slope are still at a loss over how a similar measure failed.

Funding for the main branch of the El Dorado County Library in Placerville was rejected by voters. To pass, the voters needed to approve Measure H by 66.7 percent. The vote tally was 66.6 percent, 14 votes shy of passage. The vote was officially certified Monday.

South Lake Tahoe voters approved Measure F by 81.5 percent. With such a narrow loss in Placerville, which amounted to $610,000 annually in funding, officials say the effects could trickle into the library system, including South Lake Tahoe.

El Dorado County Supervisors had agreed to match funding out of its general fund for all six libraries as part of the library system as long as the measures passed. With the defeat in Placerville, the matching funds were to be used to fund the entire library system, which includes inter-library loans.

County Library Director Jeanne Amos will press supervisors to go ahead and match the funding so that the entire system stays afloat.

“I’m confident the supervisors will agree to it,” Amos said. “I think they understand that what happened here shouldn’t hurt our other libraries, like up on the hill, who overwhelmingly voted for this.”

Amos said the narrow defeat came as both a surprise and a disappointment and attributed the loss partly to the contentious general plan measure B, which narrowly won after more than $400,000 of campaign monies went into it.

“I believe there were some misunderstandings at the polls, and I think general plan measures may have confused people or perhaps alienated them enough not to show up and vote at all,” Amos said.

Because of the loss, there are immediate plans to shut down the Pollock Pines branch of the library and cut in half the hours at the Placerville library to 21 hours a week. Layoffs are imminent among 12 part-time employees from both branches, Amos said.

Measure B, which put to an end a 15-year, $15 million process to give the county a 20-year general plan was certified Monday as receiving 50.9 percent of the ‘yes’ vote to 49 percent of the ‘no’ vote.

Measure D, which would have limited growth under a general plan until Highway 50 is expanded and restricted subdivisions in the county, failed with a 60.4 percent “no” vote to a 39.5 percent “yes” vote.

A vocal opponent to Measure B, former County Supervisor Bill Center said the narrow approval shows county voters remain against rapid growth, even though the 20-year plan encourages more of it for the next 20 years.

“Now that the general plan is the general plan, unless the Board of Supervisors are even greater hypocrites as they appeared to be in choosing their campaign message, they are going to have to pay attention to the actual words and policies in the general plan regarding traffic,” Center said. “And we’re going to be there helping them pay attention.”

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