Source: Sherman Publications

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Brandon Township Library gears up for millage campaign

by Susan Bromley

November 30, 2011

Brandon Twp.- The library board will gauge support of a millage increase by forming a campaign committee.

At the board's Nov. 28 meeting, Director Paula Gauthier said the board stopped short of declaring they would go to voters next year asking them to return to a 2.0 operating millage rate previously approved. That rate has decreased to 1.773 mills due to the Headlee Amendment, under which millages are rolled back to keep growth of revenue to no more than that rate of inflation.

"Between now and January, the board will recruit a campaign committee," said Gauthier. "They want them in place before making a decision to go to the voters."

The campaign committee will identify a strategy for getting word out to voters about the need for a millage increase, find additional volunteers to assist in the campaign, actively work to register voters, and develop ideas for campaign fundraising to cover the costs of printed materials and other items.

The library board and staff can be members of the committee, but can't run the campaign or do any work on library time, nor can library funds be used for the campaign.

Gauthier said while the millage must be termed as "new" it is basically a return to the 2 mills previously approved by voters in 1999 and is needed to help the library regain revenue lost due to the decline in property tax values since 2008.

The decline in revenue has forced the library to close its doors on Sundays and Fridays (beginning in January), freeze salaries for the past three years, and reduce budgets for materials including books, ebooks, audio books, dvds, and programming for children and adults.

If voters approved the proposed .227 millage rate increase, the library would have an additional $96,000 in revenue annually and township residents would have a $12 increase in taxes on a home valued at $100,000 with a taxable value of $50,000.

"This new millage will help the library return to some of the previous service levels," Gauthier said.

Anyone interested in being part of the campaign committee is invited to a meeting planned for noon, Jan. 6, at the library, 304 South St., Ortonville.