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Letter to the Editor


Library millage campaign continues with education



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November 14, 2012 - Dear Editor,

The Clarkston Independence District Library Board thanks city and township residents who supported a community library dedicated to providing services to both book and internet users in the 21st Century.

The ballot initiative was defeated by 30 votes out of 18,906 votes cast on Nov. 6.

The Library Board realizes many voters were not aware of the millage proposal to bring our library closer in funding to surrounding communities. Nor were they aware of the loss of funding to our library since 2000.

The Independence Township Library was a department of Independence Township supported by the Township and a supplemental millage. The state law governing this arrangement (PA 269) was repealed in 1976; the supplemental millage rate has remained at its current rate ever since. In 2000, the Township Board began to reduce the amount of yearly funding to its Library Department and in 2004 all township general fund support ceased. In addition, yearly administrative fees from the Library's supplemental millage to the township were gradually increased from $3,750 to $55,200.

In 2006, the township hired a new library director, Julie Meredith, a former township resident. In the past six years, she always submitted a balanced budget, using every penny at the library's disposal efficiently and creatively. Cuts made to services and staffing are available on the library's website, www.indelib.org, and in print from the Library.

In 2012, the Township Board, realizing the depth of the funding losses to its Library Department, rescinded the $55,200 in administrative fees and added $80,000 to the Library Department for one year. The township board also contracted for two deferred maintenance projects on the 20-year-old library building.

The Township Board and Superintendent Bart Clark worked with the City of the Village of Clarkston to reestablish the library as the Clarkston Independence District Library with an appointed, non-compensated Library Board representing both communities. The State Library approved this reestablishment on August 1, 2012.

The last step in reestablishment is an approved millage by the voters. The Library will continue to operate on its .691 millage and the approximately $25,000 raised yearly by the Friends of the Library to supplement library services to the community through 2014, although continued cuts will be necessary.

We urge residents of Clarkston and Independence Township to attend Library Board meetings and the Library itself during the next months to make an informed decision in August 2014 as to funding or closing our library.

Marilyn Pomeroy, Library Board president

Clarkston Independence District Library

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