Library millage gets voter approval

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published August 6, 2014

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — The third time was in fact the charm for supporters of a full-time public library in Harrison Township.

The 10-year millage increase passed voter approval with 53 percent during the Aug. 5 primary election.

Library Director Melissa Goins said the win was a hard-fought one, but will be well worth the efforts.

“Of course we’re very excited about the results,” said Goins who works voluntarily at the library. “It’s been a hard, long fight. Everything from here on out will take a lot of time.”

The ½ mill proposal passed with 2,279 votes against 2,089.

Passage means there will be funds for the establishment of a public library. The revenue from the millage will be disbursed into a library fund that is under the exclusive control of an independent public library board. In short, it would allow library card holders the ability to use services at any of the 21 libraries in all those within the state-funded Suburban Library Cooperative.

In addition, passage would generate approximately $413,000 in tax dollars per year for the library, which would allow the library to offer more services such as regular guest speakers, more magazines and newspapers, e-books, and improved online access. In addition, hours of operation would increase from the current 22 hours per week to 40 hours per week, and the library would be run by paid employees and not solely by volunteers.

The successful passage is a load off for those supporting the millage as members from an opposition group allegedly sent out fliers that Goins said were littered with misinformation. The grassroots group distributed a similar flier just before the 2013 prior, which local library supporters say was the reason the millage failed by 53 votes.

“Last year it caught us by surprise,” she said. “This year we were definitely ready to combat it; make it a fair fight.”

Still, the fight was a tough one.

“We got up (the morning of the election) and a bunch of our ‘Vote Yes’ signs were spray painted,” Goins said. “It was a long, hard, nasty fight, but we’re glad it’s over. Now we can move on from here. There’s a lot of work to do.”

Expansion may mean a new library location in the future.

Passage means an approximate $50 annual tax increase for a taxpayer owning a home with a cash value of $200,000 and a taxable value of $100,000. A taxpayer with a home taxable value of $40,000 would pay an additional $20 annually in taxes.