Loomis to fund own library as sales tax measure passes


Loomis is expected to open a municipal library after voters in the small Placer County town approved two measures Tuesday.

In August, Loomis lost its public library after having an official branch since 1937. Placer County supervisors voted to shut branches in Loomis and Meadow Vista because of budget woes.

After a community outcry, two measures were placed on Tuesday’s ballot: a general 0.25 percentage point sales tax and an advisory vote directing town leaders to use the money to save the library. Voters approved the initiatives by wide margins, with the sales tax measure receiving 59 percent support and the advisory measure 64 percent.

The saga began in early 2015, when Placer officials cut back hours at some branches, including Loomis, and put the Meadow Vista branch on the chopping block. At the time, county library director Mary George said she had no choice but to reduce service because funding has remained stagnant for several years. Property taxes – the primary funding vehicle for the system – took a hit during the recession, she said.

Supervisor Jim Holmes, who represents Loomis and Rocklin, initially expressed disappointment with the county’s plans but later reversed course. Holmes said eliminating the two branches allowed the county to put its existing resources to better use.

“The idea is if you own 5 acres for peach trees and you only have enough water for 3 acres, what are you going to do? You’re going to use that water where you get your best result, your best product,” Holmes said in July.

The closure surprised some in the tight-knit community. The town of nearly 7,000 people has had library services since 1910, when two residents started a lending library.

Richard Chang: 916-321-1018, @RichardYChang