*Editor's Note: Information provided by the City of Renton in an email sent at 4:58 p.m. on Tuesday, April 3. Patch immediately attempted to reach the listed contacts for clarification of the statements in the press release; however, they were unavailable. The City has since contacted Patch to clarify the issue, which resulted in the original headline being changed from "Following Public Outcry, Council Re-Visits Possibility Of Placing Initiative Location On The Ballot" to "Following Public Outcry, Council Re-Visits Possibility Of Placing Library Location On The Ballot." Patch regrets any confusion this may have caused.
, the City of Renton has changed its tune and is now open to exploring new options to determine if it can bring the location of the library to a vote of the people.
The Renton . The petition would require that any improvements for a downtown library must occur at the existing library location and not at any other location, unless the alternative proposed location for a downtown library is approved by a simple majority vote of Renton voters.
"The council took action last night to address a citizen petition that is invalid due to a number of legal requirements, and fails to address contractual agreements that we've had in place for some time," said Mayor Denis Law. "Nonetheless, a good number of Renton citizens have expressed their desire to have an opportunity to vote on where the downtown library will be located, and it's never been the intent of the council to ignore public opinion. We're going to explore some options with the council to see if we can meet our obligations while also providing our residents with an opportunity to vote on the issue."
In February 2010, Renton voters approved the annexation to the King County Library System (KCLS). A condition of that annexation included the construction by Renton of "replacement facilities for both the Main and Highlands Libraries on other properties within the city..." Subsequent to the annexation, the city completed for both the Highlands and Downtown library, and in May 2011 issued $18 million in bonds to finance the construction of both libraries.
In that obligated the city to fund the site acquisition, design, construction and other related costs for both new library facilities at the Big 5 site downtown and the Sunset Boulevard site in the Highlands. and work is currently underway at both sites.
"In my opinion the initiative placed before us was invalid," said Council President Rich Zwicker. "Those of us on the council who voted to concur with the did what we had to do. That said we are sensitive to the public concern about our library. I am committed to exploring our options, both legal and otherwise, to determine if there is a way we can bring this to a vote of the people."