Ferndale approves bond for new library


FERNDALE - The city will get a new library on Main Street near City Hall, after voters approved a $550,000 bond as the last piece of needed financing.

The bond received 62 percent "yes" votes in the Tuesday, April 23, election, according to the Thursday ballot count from the Whatcom County Auditor's Office. It needed 60 percent approval to pass.

All but a few challenged votes were counted by Thursday, Auditor Debbie Adelstein said, so the results should stand. The vote count was 1,728 yes to 1,054 no.

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 bond, plus a partial match from an anonymous donor, will cover the $810,000 still needed to build a new library.

The library has been in a temporary home at Pioneer Pavilion, 2007 Cherry St., since March 2011. Its former location at 2222 Main St. has been remodeled into the new police station.

The bond will add $11.86 a year in property taxes for the owner of a $250,000 home.

The election did have one hiccup. The ballot box outside of City Hall wasn't closed properly by an Auditor's Office team at 8 p.m. on Election Night, so it was unclear if any of the 117 ballots from the box had been left after the 8 p.m. deadline. The locking procedure had not been completed properly, leaving the ballot slot open overnight until 10 a.m. Wednesday when the ballot box was picked up, Adelstein said.

The county's Canvassing Board met Thursday morning and decided to accept the ballots in the box so as to not disenfranchise the voters who had placed them before the deadline.

Adelstein didn't think very many, if any, of the ballots were dropped off after the deadline.

The election results are unofficial until certified May 7.

Reach Zoe Fraley at 360-756-2803 or zoe.fraley@bellinghamherald.com. Read her school days blog at blogs.bellinghamherald.com/schools or follow her on Twitter at @bhamschools.

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