October 17, 2012 - Library support
As concerned Independence Township citizens we are writing to urge our neighbors to vote in favor of the upcoming millage to support continuing operations of our library
When we were considering settling in Clarkston, we looked at several things as being very important to our family. The library was near the top of the list. This library has been very important to us raising five children.
Unfortunately, we hear people discussing the fact the Independence Township library now operated on a budgetary shoestring. This concerns us.
Our children all grew up with library cards, and despite the availability of online reference resources, they used the library extensively both in secondary school and in college. In addition, the two of us have spent many years participating in the Clarkston Area Youth Assistance tutoring program. Many of our pupils have used the library to build their reading skills, to find reference material for papers, and for the joy of the participating in the many different programs Independence library has offered.
For example, we had four of our grandkids at the library on Saturday to meet the author of "Operation Nice," an anti-bullying program.
We urge everyone to take advantage of this wonderful resource and to support it by voting for the new millage on November 6.
Very yours truly,
Steve and Anita Demster
In response to Cory Johnston's letter in the Oct. 10 Clarkston News about the district library millage, he suggests Clarkston City Council will continue to levy the maximum millage on city property owners, even though, if the millage is approved, the city will be relieved of its obligation to pay Independence Township for library services. That's wrong.
The ballot question for the library district, which includes both Independence Township and the city, is for a 1.25 mill levy to support the library. This will replace the current .691 mill township levy and the equivalent payment that the city currently makes to the township for library services.
The city does not levy a separate library millage. It currently has a contract with the township to pay the township the equivalent of a .691 mill levy on city property from the city's general operating fund. If the millage is approved, that contract will be terminated.
The city will be relieved of the obligation to pay the equivalent of a .691 mill levy to the township starting in January 2013. Since the city will be relieved of that expense and city property owners will pay a separate tax to the library district, it is fair that the city reduce its operating millage by the same amount that it saves by not paying the township for library services, rather than spending that money on something else.
The city council approved a resolution on May 29, 2012 that pledges the council to reduce its general operating millage by .3455 mills this December, reflecting the savings to the city for half of its 2012-13 fiscal year, and by .691 mills in future years. If the library millage is approved and I am relected, I will offer a resolution to implement that reduction at the first council meeting after the November 6 election. And, as long as I am on the council, I will insist that the council honor that commitment in future years.
City voters should evaluate the library millage on its merits, not on speculation that the city council will repudiate its commitment to reduce the city's millage rate.
The library has done a wonderful job surviving on a shrinking income stream as property values have declined, but it has had to cut back on personnel and some services. The township has subsidized the library from its general fund, but can't afford to continue to do that.
The library is significantly underfunded compared to nearby comparable community libraries. The library is an important resource for the community and should be better funded. The proposed millage is a modest proposal, lower than what the library may have liked but sufficient to restore and improve services.
Clarkston City Council
I am writing in support of the new Clarkston Independence District Library. For me, a quality library is an important ingredient in my life.
One of the first things that I did when we moved to Independence Township seven years ago was to get a library card, and I have been a regular patron since then. The long overdue reorganization of the library presents up with an opportunity to make improvements to the programs collections and technology available to all of us.
I encourage all of you to vote "yes" on Nov. 6 for the library our community deserves. I know I will.
Great library wanted
Clarkston has a good library. It provides the basic functions of a good library. On the surface everything seems to be fine, but once you do some checking you find out the library has several areas in need of improvement to go from a good library to a great library.
The Clarkston Library serves a large area and several thousand people. To meet the needs of the people the library needs to have the right people, facility, technology and support.
The people who operate the library are very knowledgeable and good at what they do, but the work load is too great to maintain a good library and to become a great library more people resources are needed.
The facility is 20 years old and has served the area and people very well. As any homeowner knows, you must do some repairs and replacements to maintain a good home and if you want a great home you will have to do some updating. The library needs to be treated like a home and needs repairs and updating so it can go from a good facility to a great facility.
Technology changes so fast that only a 6 year old can keep up with it. The older people do not even know the technology exists. The library is limping along with very old technology. The phone system does not even have a voice mail feature. Computers and monitors need updating and/or replacing.
The support for the library comes in many forms. Many hours of volunteer support from people, financial and volunteer support from the group called Library Yes, and from the current millage. This barely helps keep the library going as a good library. We need everyone's help to get our library to become a great library. Vote yes on Nov. 6.