Funding Source

The Library is a junior taxing district and depends on approximately $16 million in annual property tax revenue to provide over 95% of its operating budget. For 2022, an estimated tax rate of $0.32 per thousand dollars of assessed property value generates this revenue. This funding is limited by law to a 1% annual increase and is capped at $0.50 per thousand dollars. When other revenue sources are factored in, the Library’s revenue growth since 2018 has been approximately 2.6% annually.

With continually rising staffing and materials costs, this annual increase does not keep pace with average growth. The Library must practice a continued cycle of understanding the needs of its facilities, services and staff,  five to 20 years in the future, and developing plans and budgets that support these needs. Regularly levying for new dollars is an essential part of planning. This practice creates sustainable funding, allowing the Library to consistently support the level of service offered and expected by our Kitsap communities.

Budget Process

The Library budget is presented annually in two parts. The Operating Budget is adopted in December and represents the following year’s projected revenue. It is a balance sheet of incoming revenue and the ongoing costs of running the Library. The Capital Budget, adopted in January, identifies significant needs which have a one-time cost. Projects in the Capital Budget are often anticipated and planned several years ahead, allowing the Library time to consider funding carefully. Capital projects address critical maintenance to buildings and regular updates to spaces, furnishing and technology, ensuring responsible stewardship of the spaces the Library has been entrusted with.

Additionally, the Library maintains two reserve funds. By policy, the Operating Reserve Fund is maintained at 10-15% of the Operating Budget and provides a source of emergency funding. The Capital Reserve Fund allows the Library to plan and fund capital projects.

Levy History

In 2017, the Library communicated a need for increased funding to maintain current service levels, provide critical updates to facilities, improve collections and staff wages and restore Sunday hours and staffing levels lost in previous years due to budget constraints. The passage of this levy authorized a one-time raise of the Library’s regular property tax levy by $0.08 per thousand dollars of assessed value, adding approximately $3.43 million to the Library’s 2018 Operating Budget.

In 2018, this additional funding allowed for increased hours for part-time staff-, needed to support hour increases; hiring additional staff in critical positions; increased investment in collections and youth programs and materials and a 2% cost-of-living increase for all staff.

The Library also partnered with Cabot Dow Associates to conduct a compensation study to ensure wages were equitably and responsibly addressed. This study used neighboring library systems similar in population and budget sizes, such as Tacoma Public Library and Whatcom County Library, along with other local public organizations, such as Kitsap County and the Central Kitsap School District, to determine a fair pay structure for Library staff.

On January 1, 2019, implementation of the study findings increased all staff wages by an average of 6.47%, while also raising annual salary step increases from 2% to 3%. Beyond the implementation, cost-of-living increases and salary step increases have been provided annually. Staffing costs currently account for 80% of the Operating Budget.