FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS - MEASURE LL SPECIAL LIBRARY TAX
WHAT IS THE “MEASURE LL” LIBRARY SPECIAL TAX?
The Library Special Tax is an annual tax on property. It was approved by voters in 1994 and was renewed in 1999, 2005, 2009 and 2015, each time by between 80% and 87% of voters (two-thirds is required for passage).
Measure LL funds can be used solely for maintenance and operation of the Library along with administrative expenses, and its use is monitored. The city must continue to maintain the Library by budgeting a minimum “required amount” for its maintenance and operations costs (South Pasadena Municipal Code: Article VI 2.89(h) LIBRARY SPECIAL TAX).
The Measure LL term is set to expire June 30, 2024, and its renewal will be on the General Election ballot Nov. 8, 2022. The measure is being placed on this election ballot because it will otherwise expire before the next regularly scheduled municipal election (November 2024). The renewal seeks to extend the current rate with its existing Consumer Price Index adjustment. This year, voters are being asked to continue Measure LL without the need for repeated renewal.
WHAT DO PROPERTY OWNERS PAY?
Rate for FY 2022-23 FY (July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023) is:
$40.23/year for a single-family residence of up to 2,000 SF.
$60.35/year for a larger single-family residence of up to 4,000 SF.
$80.47/year for a single-family residence of more than 4,000 SF.
Owners of multi-family residences pay $20.11/unit.
Non-residential property owners pay $40.23 for lots ¼ acre or smaller; $80.47 for lots up to ½ acre; $120.70 for lots up to ¾ acre; and $160.94 for lots greater than ¾ acre.
Rates increase minimally in August each year, based on any change in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim Consumer Price Index. The new rate will be reflected in the property tax bill sent in October.
Lower income families are exempt from the tax if their income, adjusted for family size, is at or below 80% of the area median income as determined under the Section 8 Income Limits for Los Angeles. Certain other types of properties are also exempt.
WHAT IS THE COMMUNITY BENEFIT?
In fiscal year 2021-22, Measure LL funds constituted nearly 20% of the annual budget of the Library.
Without this revenue, staffing, hours of operation, and programs will be cut. The Library:
Has approximately 27,000 cardholders—slightly more than the city’s population.
Saw an average of 20,000 monthly visitors prior to the pandemic.
Returned to normal hours of operation April 4, 2022.
Offered alternative services during the pandemic, including Library check-out and pick up service, a readers’ matchmaker service, live and pre-recorded programs, and outdoor story times.
Eliminated overdue fees and introduced auto-renewal and holds on all items.
Is highly valued among residents. In a 2021 city survey of almost 400 residents, more than half ranked library services as “excellent.”
Is a critical resource for children. More than 54% of monthly circulation takes place on kids’ cards, and in a three-month period pre-pandemic, more than 2,100 kids attended a total of 56 programs.
Is an important part of what keeps South Pasadena a desirable place to live; the Library is often the first community service contacted by new families with children.
WHY CAN’T CITY REVENUES FUND THE LIBRARY’S ENTIRE BUDGET?
South Pasadena is a small, full-service city with its own library, police and fire, water, and public works departments. Similar cities without a robust commercial sector may rely on outside agencies for some of these services. All South Pasadena municipal services and employee costs must be covered by available, insufficient revenues. As a result, library services are underfunded.
WILL THIS YEAR’S BALLOT LANGUAGE BE DIFFERENT?
Library supporters want to stop returning to the voters every few years with requests to extend this essential revenue source. Time, effort, and money are needed to launch campaigns to inform voters of Measure LL and its importance. There is a further cost to include a measure on the ballot. This election, voters have a chance to approve continuing the Library Special Tax until and unless the voters decide it is no longer necessary and act to repeal it.