Source: Sherman Publications

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Library lowers millage request

by Mary Keck

May 23, 2012

In light of the recent school bond defeat, caution rules the day in library-tax talks.

"It would be nice to have 1.38 (mills), but I don't think that's going to fly very well," said Richard Bisio, Clarkston City Council member at the May 14 council meeting.

Library Director Julie Meredith presentd three millage options for a new district library, 1.0, 1.25, and 1.38. One mill is $1for each $1,000 of assessed property valuation, or one-half market value.

"One mill is the best you're going to get," said Councilman Stephen Hargis.

When Meredith replied, "we can't function at 1.0," Hargis countered, "which would you rather have, .69 [the library's current millage] or 1.0? I think you need to look at it very realistically. This is the way life is."

Councilman Michael Sabol agreed that 1.0 was the best option.

Council members Bisio, Peg Roth and Thomas Hunter favored 1.25.

"This is a make or break moment for the library 1.38 would be nice, but people are watching every penny," Meredith said.

The 1.25 millage rate is most likely, she said.

That rate would replace the current .69 mill if the current Independence Township Library takes on district status. At 1.25, the library can plan for maintenance on their 20-year-old building including fixing a leaky roof, ductwork, and parking lot.

According to Meredith, the library currently doesn't "have the money for those kind of repairs."

The 1.25 option also offers residents another level of service, she said.

The library would use 10 percent of its budget on books and other materials cardholders could check out, and the technology plan, which hasn't been funded since 2009, would be reinstated.

The District Agreement Committee recommended 1.38 mills. No ballot language has been written yet.

The next meeting of the District Library Agreement Committee will be on May 29 at 7 p.m. in Independence Township Hall.

The Friends of the library has developed a survey regarding library services, which can be found online at www.indelib.org/survey.