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City poll shows voters support Cornelius library

A new poll by the city of Cornelius suggests that the city’s voters, notoriously cranky about money measures, are ready to fund a new library.by: COURTESY PHOTO - The $13.5 million proposal to build a new library building that also provides affordable housing for seniors in Cornelius is popular with voters.

In a survey of 216 residents, 71 percent said they’d likely vote yes on a 20-year, $2 million construction bond to pay for the city’s share of a proposed library construction project.

The building wouldn’t just house a new city library, it would also include 45 housing units that nonprofit Bienestar would rent to low-income seniors.

While the overall project cost will be around $13.5 million, the cost to Cornelius residents would be a relatively small $2 million. Property owners would see their taxes rise by 26 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, or about $42 per year for the owner of a home with a $160,000 assessed value.

Another $2.5 million would be raised by library supporters from grant and foundation sources.

While the project is more complex than a traditional library building effort, voters in the survey liked it.

Digging deeper into the survey, there’s support for the project. No group of people polled was likely to vote against a bond, and 66 percent of likely voters indicated they’d support the levy. The lowest support was among people without a library card and those who had never visited the Cornelius Library, where 51 percent supported the idea.

“It’s phenomenal,” said Rob Drake, Cornelius city manager. “Those are good numbers.”

The poll results are especially striking since the city has a history of voting down tax issues — and by large margins.

In 2004, 71 percent of voters turned down a proposal to sell $11.6 million in bonds to build a community center with library facilities.

So far, the city hasn’t finalized the development agreement with Bienestar. Once that plan is in place, the city council will vote on the project. Drake said that would likely happen early next year.

After a vote of the council, the city can set a date for the tax vote, possibly as early as November 2013.

The Friends of the Cornelius Library are already planning their part of the project, identifying potential donors and foundations that could help pay for the project.

“This should be an attractive project to the foundations and the grantors because it’s a mixed use development with affordable senior housing, and it’s in a community that has a different demographic than Beaverton or Hillsboro,” Drake said.




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