East Edition

Whittier hopes to pay off library bonds over 15 years

WHITTIER — If residents approve the sale of  $22 million general obligation bonds to fund renovation of the Central Library and related parking improvements Nov. 7, they would pay off the bonds in 15 years with a parcel tax costing the average homeowner about $81 a year based on assessed valuation of $24 per $100,000.

The 15-year payoff will result in total interest of about $9.8 million. Interest over 20 years was estimated at $13.3 million, and $20.9 million over 30 years.

The City Council approved the payback time July 25 on a 4-0 vote with Councilman Bob Henderson absent.

The council had previously approved putting the bond sale on the ballot but delayed until July 25 a decision on how long the city would take to pay the bonds off.

In a written report to the City Council July 25, City Clerk Kathryn Marshall said the payback options, based on an estimated 5 percent interest, were 15 years, costing the average home owner about $81 year; 20 years, at a $67 annual cost or 30 years, at an annual cost of $54 to the average homeowner.

She said there are 16,843 properties in the city valued at about $5.6 billion, with the average cost of a home at $335,630.

An annual tax levy of $24 per $100,000 assessed valuation for 15 years will raise about $2.2 million.

Other options were to pay off the bonds in 20 years, costing taxpayers $20 per $100,000 assessed value, raising about $1.8 million annually; and $16 per $100,000 assessed valuation raising about $1.4 million a year for 30 years.

A decision to go with a bond issue was made June 27 with staff reporting back July 11 with the proper resolutions and ordinances for the vote.

The bond sale will pay to expand 58-year-old Whittier Central Library to meet 21st century needs. It will provide a children’s area for story times, parent/child reading, and children’s book collections/technology; improve senior and disabled access; expand and update the computer and technology center; provide space for up-to-date book and resource collections; relocate the Veterans Resource Center for better service; and related improvements.

Plans call for installing 30 computer stations, providing more parking and expanding community meeting space.

Two-thirds voter approval (66.67 percent) will be required for passage, Marshall said.

A survey conducted at the city’s request last November indicated support from 67.5 percent of those surveyed on the initial test and 68.2 percent on the final test, Marshall said in a report July 11.

Prior to June 27, the council considered and rejected other funding sources including a sales tax increase or the use of existing funds.

The city also will spend funds to hire a public relations firm to conduct a public education outreach effort leading up to the November election explaining the vote and its effect.