FERNDALE - The city's voters were on their way to approving a $550,000 bond to help pay for a new Ferndale Library, according to early ballot returns Tuesday, April 23.
The measure was passing with 62 percent approval, and 38 percent voting no. A total of 627 votes separated the two sides, with 2,581 ballots counted on Tuesday.
It needs to be approved by 60 percent or more of the voters to pass.
"It is passing and, barring any surprises, it looks like we're going to get a new library," said Norine Amend, president of the Friends of the Ferndale Public Library.
"We're cautiously optimistic that that number will hold and that we'll be able to move forward as planned," said, Christine Perkins, executive director for Whatcom County Library System.
If the bond gets the OK, the owner of a $250,000 home would pay $11.86 a year in additional property taxes.
The bond, plus a partial match from an anonymous donor, will cover the $810,000 still needed to build a new library on Main Street, near City Hall.
The next ballot count will be released Wednesday afternoon.
"No matter the outcome, we're really so impressed with how the Ferndale community reacted swiftly to the news there was going to be a bond measure on the ballot and worked to get the word out," Perkins added.
The 15,000-square-foot library will cost about $6 million, including the value of the land donated by the city. Construction must begin in August, or the city will lose a $250,000 grant from the nonprofit Norcliffe Foundation.
The project to build a new library is a collaboration of the city of Ferndale, Whatcom County Library System and Whatcom Community Foundation, and has been since 2009.
A new, larger library is needed to meet the increasing needs of a growing community, supporters have said.
"We need this library," Amend said, expressing faith that the community understands that. "They're going to come through."
The election results will be certified May 7.
Reach Kie Relyea at 360-715-2234 or firstname.lastname@example.org.