Union Gap voters appear to favor a levy that would annex a proposed library into the Yakima Valley Libraries district.
The levy garnered 61.85% of the votes in the initial ballot count Tuesday night, or 201 to 124. The measure requires a simple majority of 50% plus one to pass.
The new tax would cover the cost of running a local library through the Yakima district.
If approved, the levy would mean a property tax increase of about 43 cents per $1,000 in property value. That’s $43 annually for a house valued at $100,000, or $65 for a house valued at $150,000.
The levy comes amid plans for a proposed 6,000-square-foot building on the southeast corner of the Civic Center campus on Ahtanum Road, which would house a new library and community center for Union Gap. The building will be paid for by city funds and a $2 million grant in the state’s capital budget.
Julie Schilling, who leads the Friends of Union Gap Library and Community Center committee and separately ran unopposed for Position 6 on Union Gap City Council, said she was ecstatic to hear the high voter approval of the library levy.
“We’re just so excited that we’re going to start building our library,” she said.
While the vote margin appears strong, Schilling said the committee would likely wait a week to ensure late ballots didn’t flip the vote before hiring an architect to begin work on the new building.
“We just really want to thank the City of Union Gap for getting out and voting,” she added. “We worked hard when it came to getting the grant and we needed this vote to bring things through. It’s a home-run. It’s a touchdown.”
Union Gap has been without a local library branch since the former library in the old City Hall building was razed in 2015 due to black mold. If the new levy failed, the new library would likely be scaled back or the $2 million grant would be returned to the state altogether.