City to mail brochure on library millage to all residents

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published June 28, 2011

Troy residents will receive an informational brochure regarding the upcoming Aug. 2 ballot question on a five-year, 0.7-mill dedicated library tax after a divided council authorized it at a June 20 meeting.

The council passed the measure 4-2. Councilmen Martin Howrylak and Wade Fleming opposed it, and Councilwoman Robin Beltramini was absent.

Mayor Louise Schilling brought before the council the request for a content-neutral flier to be mailed to residents.

Schilling said the city has sent out a content-neutral flier for every city election.

“This follows the same principle,” she said.

The printing and mailing costs are $12,000.

The brochure specifies the ballot language, the closure date for the library if the millage fails, what a “yes” vote would mean, and how residents can learn the estimated difference to their taxes.

Items on the brochure initially listed under “There’s something for everyone at the Troy Public Library” will be deleted.

Fleming said the material does not appear content-neutral, and Councilwoman Maureen McGinnis, an attorney, said she had concerns about the proposed material under the “There’s something for everyone” heading. She suggested that the wording direct readers to the library website for a list of services instead.

Troy City Attorney Lori Grigg Bluhm said that under campaign finance laws, the brochure needs to be factual and can’t oppose or support the ballot question, and directing readers to the Web page would be “very appropriate.”

The Aug. 12 library closure date initially listed in the brochure will be changed to read Aug. 5.

The brochure will also contain dates to remember, such as the last day to register to vote for the Aug. 2 election — July 5 — and that the city clerk’s office will be open 10 a.m.-2 p.m. July 30 for voters to cast absentee ballots.