With the primary election less than two weeks away, now is a good time for voters to read up on the various candidates and ballot measure they are likely to see in Spokane County.
Depending on where voters live, they could see one or more ballot propositions in addition to the array of candidates.
Public safety sales tax
Everyone in the county will see a proposal to renew the public safety sales and use tax through 2029.
The current rate on that tax is 0.10%. Right now, most county residents pay 8.8% sales tax all told, or slightly less if you live outside the public transit area. Six-and-a-half of that 8.8% tax goes to the state.
The tax already exists and this measure would only renew it. It was first passed narrowly in 2004 and then renewed by a large margin in 2009.
Sixty percent of the money raised from the tax would remain with the county itself, while the other 40% would be distributed to various towns and cities.
All of the money would be used for various criminal justice and public safety measures, ranging from police to fire to courts to jails.
County library levy
Another big measure on the ballot is a levy increase for the county library system.
When considering this measure, there's an important fact to remember: the Spokane County Library District is totally separate from the city system, Spokane Public Library.
The county system is now requesting an increase in property tax rates.
They want to bump it from its current rate of $0.43 to $0.50 per $1,000 in property value.
That means you'd pay about $14 per year more if you have a $200,000 home.
The SCLD says it needs the levy to keep up basic operations because costs have risen faster than revenues.
Without the levy, the district says it will likely have to close at least one branch, make cuts to programming and be unable to keep its digital resources up to date.
The last time a levy hike was on the table for the county system was 2010 and it passed comfortably. Before that, a levy in 2006 also passed by a big margin.