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Guest viewpoint

Options to fund library

July 16, 2014 - Libraries should no longer be funded by millage. If they are managed effectively and are truly a viable entity, they can exist as a non-profit with a Enterprise Fund.

The Clarkston Independence District Library is going to eventually lose its millage funding. Since most homeowners have access to computers and can download books, retrieve information, and just about anything else the library offers from the comfort of their homes, it's just a matter of time.

I seriously doubt it will pass on Aug. 5, and even if it passes, it's just a matter of time before it will eventually lose funding via the millage route.

Renters from within and outside of Independence Township, retired folks who like to congregate at the library, those individuals with low incomes, and/or those who don't have computer skills and don't have access to electronic media find the library a great deal.

Most of these folks don't directly pay property tax and the proposed millage has little to no impact on them one way or the other.

Personally, I don't use any library and I don't want to subsidize their existence. Additionally, I don't want to be tricked into paying for the library by some unethical voting scheme.

Our township supervisor and the library hierarchy need to rethink the library's existence and develop funding arrangements to support the library without using the general fund or a millage.

On July 9, 2014, according to the "Independence Township Times," a four-page set of somewhat biased articles inserted into The Clarkston News by the Independence Township supervisor, the library has provided significant services to many people both in and outside the boundaries of Independence Township.

They seemingly reference a very detailed count of services provided but say little to nothing about what the 1.25 mills represent in dollars and sense, nor do they detail how the money will be spent. I don't think they really know and this millage request is just another trip back to the well.

Just recently, I listened in on a library board meeting and it reminded me of the previous trustee board meetings a couple of years ago (not nearly as bad) and everyone talked when they wanted with little to no control and the most dominant participants talking most of the time.

Robert's Rules were used only to the extent needed to make viewers believe the meeting was being conducted in an orderly fashion.

One of the agenda items was the parking lot and a capital project that would cost approximately $300,000 to resurface the lot. I made a visit to that lot on July 13 and noticed more than 90 percent of this lot was in good condition.

The entrance drive had several spots that needed work as well as a 10-by-10-foot area about 50 feet beyond the driveway. There were also a dozen or so concrete curb problems to be repaired. As far as going in and tearing everything out and replacing the entire lot for $300,000 it just isn't necessary!

I recommend this millage be turned down and library closed. Further, I recommend all monies/budget earmarked for the library be set aside until the library can be reopened as an enterprise fund.

The enterprise fund would require all services provided (such as those listed in the Independence Township Times) and probably a lot more could be discussed and implemented into this enterprise scenario.

Once a plan is complete and charges were established for the various services and activities, the plan could be blessed by the township board of trustees. The library could then be reopened. At this point, the users of the library, volunteers, sentimental citizens and/or donations and fund raising initiatives should be sufficient to operate the library and pay for its existence.

The good news is if the library was as good as advertised, it would flourish and if notm it would close as a result of insufficient support.

Michael G. Tynan is a resident of Independence Township.

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