North County Library parcel tax, Measure L (June 2010)

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A North County Library parcel tax, Measure L ballot proposition was on the June 8, 2010 ballot for voters who live in Los Altos and Los Altos Hills in Santa Clara County, where it was approved.[1]

Voters were asked to approve an annual tax of $76 per developed parcel that will last for 20 years. The tax goes into effect on July 1, 2010. The money is being used to support operating costs for the Los Altos and Woodlands libraries.

A $76 annual parcel tax was a $24/year increase over the $52 parcel tax that was in effect when this measure was approved. That tax was approved in 1990. The $24/year increase, according to those who supported it, went to pay for increases in the salaries of library staff. The annual increase of $24/year also went to pay for the expenses of holding the election on the parcel tax, keeping the library open for more hours, and buying books.[1][2]

Election results

Measure L
Approveda Yes 10,404 77.62%
These final, certified results are from the Santa Clara County elections office.


Elayne Dauber was a volunteer on the campaign committee that was urging a "yes" vote on Measure L. She said, "“We pay taxes for so many things we hope to never need, such as disaster relief. Isn’t it wonderful to support things we use and really give us quality of life? By supporting libraries and schools, we are supporting the future.”[3]

The editorial board of the San Jose Mercury News endorsed Measure L, saying, "Los Altos' main library and the Woodland Branch Library offer 500 programs for people of all ages on a broad range of topics, including the arts, science and technology, history and culture. They provide a safe haven for kids after school and help them become lifelong learners. Parcel tax funds collected for the past 20 years have been well spent, including tripling the number of volumes to nearly 3 million. Measure L will keep up the level of excellence."[4]

Barbara Mordo of Los Altos Hills was the co-chairwoman of the "Yes on L" campaign. She said: "This is a flat tax. The tax will stay at $76 for the next 20 years. That’s less than 21 cents a day, which is a bargain for a resource that touches the lives of so many in our community, from students to families to seniors."[5]

Text of measure

The question on the ballot:

To maintain Los Altos and Woodland library hours, purchase books and materials, support library programs, and for general purposes, shall the North County Library Authority, a joint powers authority between Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, continue a tax for 20 years, with annual oversight, at the fixed rate of $76 per year on each developed parcel of land within Los Altos and Los Altos Hills and allowing an exemption for low-income senior households, and establish an appropriations limit?[6]

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