Pitkin County Library plans to poll voters
June 18, 2012
ASPEN – A sampling of Pitkin County voters will be polled to gauge support for a tax increase to help fund a proposed $10 million expansion of the county library.
The telephone polling is expected to take place the week of July 8 at a cost of $10,000. The goal is to survey 300 voters, according to Kathy Chandler, library director.
The proposed poll questions will be shared with county commissioners Tuesday.
County commissioners have not yet taken action to put a tax question for the library on the November ballot. The results of the poll could shape that decision or result in changes to the expansion plan in order to gain public support, Chandler said.
“It’s a learning experience, I would say,” she said.
The poll as it’s proposed would ask voters several general questions about Pitkin County and about how they feel about the overall level of property taxes that they pay.
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They also will be asked if they’re likely to vote for or against an additional property tax amounting to $16.22 annually per $1 million of a home’s assessed property value.
The poll then asks voters to rate various improvements that are envisioned as part of the library expansion, including a new children’s area, community meeting space that would be available after hours, upgraded wireless service with free Wi-Fi on adjacent Galena Plaza and other upgrades. In all, 7,200 square feet in additional space is planned – an expansion of the existing building by 20 percent. The project includes extensive renovation of the existing interior.
Poll respondents also will be asked how much they would be swayed by various arguments for and against the expansion and then asked again about how likely they would be to vote for or against the tax increase.
The expansion proposal is under review by the Aspen City Council, which will take up the plans again on June 25. Project architects are at work on options to address council concerns about a proposed canopy extending from the library onto Galena Plaza, Chandler said.
About half of the $10 million project would be funded by a library endowment fund. The other half would be covered by the proposed property tax.