Port Orchard votes itself a say in library matters

Given the maddening complexity of the issue before Port Orchard residents, it wouldn’t have been surprising if the vote on Tuesday to annex into the Kitsap Regional Library district had been a little less lopsided.

That’s especially true given that the city council had the potential to parlay the decision into a property tax increase.

But whether it was the council’s pledge to keep taxes at the same level or the voters’ frustration with the city’s former arrangement with the library district, the end result was that the measure was approved by a margin of around 3 to 1.

Attention will now shift to the November general election and the library lid lift proposal — about which newly enfranchised Port Orchard voters will now have a say.

For reasons no one seems to understand or recall, Port Orchard is the only Kitsap County community that, until Tuesday night, wasn’t a voting member of KRL.

Instead of being able to tax city residents directly to support library services, the district presented an annual bill to the Port Orchard Council, which was paid out of the general fund.

Depending on who you ask, Port Orchard residents seemed to be paying about as much as other communities were in spite of the contractual arrangement, and yet the city traditionally got far less in return.

Presumably that will change now that we’re no longer in take-it-or-leave-it mode and are now a full-fledged voting member whose residents have to be courted like everyone else.

In the meantime, it will be very interesting to see how Port Orchard voters respond to KRL’s levy lid lift request in November — a proposal that, as always, would benefit Port Orchard far less than it would places like Silverdale and Kingston.

Based on Tuesday night’s margin of victory, it’s clear Port Orchard voters are anxious to express their wishes to the library district.

And for a refreshing change, the district will have to listen.

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