Colorado Public Libraries and the 2004 November Elections

Colorado voters had a mixed response to requests for increased funding for libraries across the state. Five of 8 ballot initiatives to raise mill levies passed, and 1 bond initiative failed. Voters in the Florence area approved a ballot initiative to create a new library district, while Mesa County voters rejected a bond issue for a new library and also a mill levy increase for maintenance projects. TABOR language was not as prevalent on this year’s ballots with only 2 library systems asking for TABOR overrides and only one being successful. Table 1 summarizes election results by type of ballot measure. Table 2 gives details about locations and voting percentages for public library measures on the November ballot (see full report for tables).

Libraries that failed to pass their ballot measures were looking for voter support for maintaining or expanding services. Cortez Public Library was hoping to double their operating budget to bring them “up to average compared to other public libraries in the state.” While they will retain current funding, failure of the referendum means that their “services will stay the same for the next few years.”

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