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Taxpayer approval sought to expand Nelson, Salmo library services

Some rural Nelson and Salmo residents can now weigh in on whether they want their tax dollars supporting the libraries in those communities.

A counterpetition process has begun which will see the measures adopted unless 10 per cent of eligible electors in each area sign their names against the idea by Sept. 5.

If approved, all residents within electoral Area E will receive a free membership to the Nelson Public Library rather than having to buy it at an annual rate of $45 per person or $90 per family. In 2023, the area would collectively be on the hook for about $106,000. An average property would pay $35.37 for library services.

The RDCK says 348 residents of Area E would need to sign their names to stop the idea from going ahead.

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“The Nelson Municipal Library is a valuable resource which provides members of our community access to a wide range of services, including an extensive library catalogue, opportunities for kids and teens to learn and explore, a large number of online courses for adults, and a tech hub, featuring a recording and photography studio,” Area E director Ramona Faust said in a news release.

Faust currently supports 330 youth memberships through a grant, but says the new service would “contribute to the overall literacy of our community and ensure sustainable funding for years to come. ”

Meanwhile, the catchment area of the Salmo Valley Public Library could grow by 145 properties. That would provide the library with additional funding, but those who already pay into the service would actually see a slight decrease in taxation. The average property in the area proposed to be added would pay $34.05 for library service in 2023.

“As a former educator, I value the importance of the Salmo Valley Public Library and believe it is a priority to have a sustainable funding service,” said Area G director Hans Cunningham in a release.

“The expanded service will give all residents of Area G the benefit of extensive library services, including access to almost all BC libraries through the BC OneCard. Because the revised area includes expanded industrial rated properties that are taxed at a higher rate, the new bylaw means reduced tax rates for both the Village of Salmo and Area G homeowners. Better service, lower taxes, what is not to like?”

At least 229 Area G residents would have to sign their names to prevent the measure from passing.

Response forms for those against can be found here (for Area G) and here (for Area E). If you’re in favour, you don’t have to do anything.

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