Ballot Question 2C – Repeal of Library Commission and Tax if Library District Created

The Carnegie Library near downtown Boulder

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Ballot language

If the voters approve the initiative to create a library district that is on the ballot of Boulder County at the November 8, 2022 election, shall Sections 65, 102 and 130 of the Boulder Home Rule Charter be amended and Sections 69, 132, 133, and 134 be repealed from the Boulder Home Rule Charter and any remaining funds in the Library Fund used all as set forth in Ordinance 8539?

What it means

There is a measure on the ballot to create and fund a library district. If that passes, there is a bunch of language in Boulder’s charter relating to the library that will no longer apply because the library district will be a separate government entity, not under the control of the city.

This includes language related to the library commission and dedicated property tax (see more below).

Who is supporting and opposing?

There is no formal support or opposition to this measure (although there is for the library district itself). This was brought forward by the city itself, one of multiple ballot measures meant to keep the charter up-to-date and free of conflicts.

Why you might want to vote for this 

Assuming the library district is created, all the charter references to the governance of the library will become moot — the city will no longer have control of the library. 

This type of charter cleanup is routine; nearly every recent ballot has one measure related to updating the language after conditions change. This helps stave off legal challenges and confusion in interpreting and applying the charter in the event of a conflict. 

In this particular case, changing the charter is necessary because of the 0.333-mill property tax dedicated to the library. That section of the charter is being repealed; the property tax will no longer be collected. 

Why you might not want to vote for this 

If you don’t support the library district, you may wish to symbolically vote against this as well. However, it will be just that — symbolic. 

There is no real reason to oppose this, as its main purpose is to keep the city charter up-to-date and free of legal conflicts.

What’s being removed or revised and why? 

Sections 65, 102 and 130 will be amended.

  • Section 65: Removes library and arts from the list of city departments. Arts has already been moved under the umbrella of community vitality in anticipation of this change.
  • Section 102: Transfer of balances. Removes library from the list of city departments where fund balance cannot be appropriated (because the property tax was dedicated to the library). Any unspent money in the library fund at the end of 2022 will be transferred to the library district. The property tax will stop being collected in 2023.
  • Section 130: General provisions concerning advisory commissions. Removes library commission from this section, as the library district will be governed by a board of trustees, not a city commission.

Sections 69, 132, 133, and 134 will be repealed.

  • Section 69: General powers and duties of the library and arts department. This is no longer needed, as the library will no longer be a city department.
  • Section 132: Library commission established. As stated above, this section is no longer needed as there will no longer be a city-run library commission.
  • Section 133: Powers and duties of library commission. Same as above.
  • Section 134: Library fund. This section will be repealed in full, as the 0.333-mill property tax will no longer be collected.

— Shay Castle, @shayshinecastle

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