Parcel tax ballot measure would keep library funded |

Parcel tax ballot measure would keep library funded

William Ferchland

Ashley Lacroix walked out of El Dorado County Library with perhaps the best deal in town: two rented videos for two dollars for a week.

“I think libraries are a good thing to have in a town,” she said while holding “Birdcage” and “Seven Days in Tibet.”

In nine days voters in both the city and the surrounding county area will have to choose whether to continue a $15 parcel tax to fully fund the South Lake Tahoe branch library for the next decade.

Ten years ago, Tahoe voters approved a $15 annual parcel tax to fund the library to counter the loss of county revenue which the state started taking in the early 1990s. The measure expires in June. Called Measure F on this year’s ballot, the money generated will continue to fund library services such as staff, books and hours of operation.

“I think we have proven that we did exactly what we said we would do 10 years ago,” said El Dorado County Library Director Jeanne Amos. “We’ve kept our end of that bargain so I think we have a good, credible track record here that people can count on.”

Voters in Placerville and Georgetown are facing sister measures of the same amount to save their libraries.

If approved, the county’s board of supervisors will match the parcel tax revenue 100 percent.

About $380,000 would be generated from the tax for South Lake Tahoe to cover the library’s expenses.

“What’s raised here and passes here in South Lake Tahoe, it’s not commingled with other libraries in the county,” Supervisor Dave Solaro said. “I think that’s important for people to know.”

If Measure F doesn’t achieve the two-thirds passage rate, then Amos said the worst could happen and the library could close or shorten its operation hours.

“It’s very critical that this is successful,” Amos said.

Budget constraints last year forced the library to close a week at the end of May to help the county balance its budget.

Built in 1983, the South Lake Tahoe branch checks out about 8,000 items per month from a collection of about 75,000 education items. People drop in for readings such as Friday’s preschool story time and classes like introduction to e-mail.

On Friday afternoon the library was humming with activity. Some seniors were catching up on current events with news magazines. Another was taking a rest in a wooden chair. Most of the nine computers with Internet access were in use. A girl was looking for books with her mom in the children’s section.

Measure F does have the support of many people and organizations. There is no known organized opposition nor was there an argument against the measure in the sample ballot.

As an example of the measure’s support, Ellen Day, president of the Taxpayers Association of El Dorado County, was listed as a backer. Day could not be reached for comment.

John DeMasi, president of the South Lake Tahoe Senior Citizens, Inc., is another supporter.

Asked why people might support Measure F and not Measure L, a failed $60 parcel tax to generate funds for Lake Tahoe Unified School District, DeMasi replied that the wording in Measure L was faulty.

– E-mail William Ferchland at

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