Creating a library district will free up roughly $10 million dollars each year for the City of Boulder to address critical issues like wildfire mitigation, first responders, affordable housing, transportation, or support for small businesses that are struggling after the pandemic.
When we put the above concept to the likely voters we polled earlier this year, 78% found it to be somewhat or very convincing as a reason to vote in support of the proposed ballot question.
That’s because there are so many worthy and popular programs and projects that the city could invest in to improve quality of life in Boulder, even as the library continues to struggle for General Fund dollars.
The Boulder Library Champions do not have an official position on how to reallocate General Fund dollars. Libraries are what bring us together, and as a group we have diverse opinions on other issues! But we do know that Boulder’s City Council has committed to having a robust public discussion about freed-up funds soon after the 2022 election, and we support this approach. We strongly encourage residents to participate in city budget deliberations, and to contact City Council to share their thoughts.
When it comes to city budgets, here’s where we find common ground: Boulder’s library system has been underfunded for decades, and years of study have shown a district to be the best solution. The issue of whether or not voters should follow that advice is entirely separate from the issue of what the City can or should do with the freed-up funds.
In other words, we shouldn’t use the library as a political football when legitimate questions about how the City should reallocate the incurred budget savings arise. That discussion is important, but ultimately unrelated to the library’s decades-long struggle to achieve sustainable funding.