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Ventura County News Roundup

SANTA PAULA : Library Backers to Begin Drive for Tax


Supporters of the cash-starved Blanchard Community Library will launch a campaign Sunday to promote a proposed Santa Paula parcel tax to support the facility.

The measure, which must receive approval from two-thirds of the voters to pass, would assess a $25 annual tax on each of the city's 7,000 parcels. If approved, the tax would generate $175,000 a year and allow the library to open on Saturdays, officials say.

Library commissioners approved placing the special assessment on the ballot after a $50,000 cut in state and county assistance threatened to close the library's doors by this summer.

Although the likelihood of the library closing down for the summer has diminished, supporters say the parcel tax is needed to restore lost funding and protect the library from further cuts.

The library has been open for just three days and 18 hours a week--and closed all weekend--since voters failed to approve a one-time $15 parcel tax in 1990. That measure was supported by 57.4% of the voters, but required support from two-thirds for passage.

Eugene Marzec, library commission chairman, said the library's fortunes have steadily declined since 1978, when California voters rolled back property taxes by approving Proposition 13.

"The library was open for 62 hours every week then," Marzec said. "But then we dropped it to 33 hours, then to 28 hours, to 22 hours and finally to 18 hours. These last two years have been devastating."

The meeting will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday at the library, 119 N. Eighth St. For further information, call Gene Marzec at 525-1252 or Mary Alice Henderson at 525-1297.

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