Voters will decide library millage renewal in November

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published July 28, 2015

 The library’s fund balance is used to purchase additions to the collection, such as these large-print books.

The library’s fund balance is used to purchase additions to the collection, such as these large-print books.

Photo by Terry Oparka

Advertisement

The Troy City Council has approved language asking voters to decide whether to renew a previously authorized 0.7-mill tax to fund the Troy Public Library.

The millage request that will appear on the November ballot is for five years.

The council approved the ballot language in a 6-1 vote July 20. Councilman Doug Tietz voted against the measure.

“I support keeping the library open,” Tietz said via email.  “For more than 50 years, Troy operated a full-time library without a special tax. Apparently, I am the only City Council member that wants to phase out the library tax over a series of years. Tax increases, like the library tax, implemented during a fiscal emergency have a tendency to stay well after the economic tumult has ended. To my knowledge, there is no interest by the majority of City Council to ever phase out this tax increase regardless of Troy’s improved fiscal condition.”

If approved, the millage levy would raise $3.2 million in its first year. Based on a home with a taxable value of $105,888, the average in Troy, this equates to $74.12 per year.

Troy City Manager Brian Kischnick said that over the past year, city leaders gleaned input on the library millage question from members of the community, from the Financial Ideas Team that met last November and from the council.

“It started with the AAA bond rating discussion and how important committed funding sources are as a component of the AAA bond rating,” Kischnick said. “I’m not saying it’s everything, but it certainly is a component as stated by Bobby Bedzinski, (municipal advisor).”

Kischnick said that if voters approve the millage, the library fund balance would be used to purchase collection materials. Physical needs of the building would be funded through the city’s capital fund budget, if needed.

The library’s fund balance is $1.34 million, and the library has received an average of $170,000 per year for four years from the city’s capital improvement fund.

“We feel very confident in what we’re presenting in front of you in terms of the facts,” Kischnick said.

In a study session last March, library staff said that 64 percent of Troy households have a library card.

In a survey designed by the Oakland University Public Affairs Research Laboratory to represent the city as a whole — which 1,000 residents completed in March — 60 percent of respondents said they had visited the library in the past year.

“I think you’ve done everything you that could possibly do to get as much input as you could (for us) to make a good decision,” said Troy Mayor Dane Slater. He thanked Financial Ideas Team members for stepping forward to be part of the process.

Advertisement