Oakland voters will be asked on June 7 to vote on Measure C, which renews a parcel tax for the next 30 years to pay for library services in the city.

Measure C would extend the parcel tax passed in 2004 and would be used to maintain and enhance library services.

“It’s really foundational to everything that we do,” said library director Jamie Turbak.

If Measure C does not pass, the city would probably have to close nine branches or the equivalent, Turbak said.

“It would be heartbreaking,” she said.

Owners of single-family homes would pay $114.50 per single-family parcel, which is what they pay now. Owners of other parcel types would be charged less. The tax would raise $18 million in the first year.

Exemptions will be given for low-income and affordable housing residents, according to the materials provided to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters.

The existing parcel tax provides the Oakland Public Library with 40 percent of its total annual budget, Turbak said.

The tax revenue allows the library to open six days a week and ensures the library has broad hours of operation. The tax funds all the collections of the library including books, the seed library, and tool lending library.

It makes up the biggest portion of the information technology budget.

Measure C includes the option for the City Council to increase the tax to account for a rising cost of living, Turbak said.

Two-thirds of all voters must approve of the measure for it to pass.

Keith Burbank is currently a fulltime reporter covering Alameda County and Oakland news for Bay City News. He has also worked on the Data Points project for Local News Matters, finding trends and stories about the region through data. In 2019, he was a California Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, producing a series about homeless deaths in Santa Clara County. He worked as a swing shift editor for the newswire for several years as well. Outside of journalism, Keith enjoys computer programming, math, economics and music.