Library seeks millage increase in August

Request is for 0.5 mills

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published May 9, 2016

 The Roseville Public Library is seeking a half-mill millage increase this August to get enough money to upgrade the library interior — which has not been changed in 20 years — among other priorities.

The Roseville Public Library is seeking a half-mill millage increase this August to get enough money to upgrade the library interior — which has not been changed in 20 years — among other priorities.

Photo by Kevin Bunch

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ROSEVILLE — The Roseville Public Library is seeking a half-mill millage increase on the August primary election ballot following unanimous approval by the City Council April 26.

Library Director Jackie Harvey said that over the past few years, the library has been forced to dip into its reserve fund — essentially its savings account — to balance its budget. The library has already made cuts over the past few years, she said, and the Library Commission feels that a millage increase is the way to proceed.

With the money from the millage, the library could upgrade its interior, which Harvey said has not been changed since an expansion was completed 20 years ago. The library also could beef up its technology budget to keep pace with technology advancements, and add to the collection budget, which Harvey said is one of the lowest per capita in the state for a community the size of Roseville. The library also could add back hours lost in 2010.

“We were open six days a week and longer hours each day, but we had to cut hours daily and had to cut a day of hours in order to meet our budget,” Harvey said, adding that currently the library is closed Saturdays and Sundays. “One of the things we’d like to get back by asking residents for a millage increase is Saturdays.”

The library already receives 1 mill from residents as a Public Act 164 entity — Harvey said the council was able to unilaterally set up that millage in 2012 when it spun off the library as its own authority. The 0.5-mill increase would be added to that and would run for 10 years; the 1 mill set up by council continues on in perpetuity.

Residents also already pay an average of $28 just for the 1 mill already set by council. If the millage increase is approved in August, property owners would pay an average of $42 per household annually for the millage — the increase comes out to approximately an additional $14 per household, Harvey said.

This is a $7 increase over how much residents have been paying due to a 20-year, 0.25-mill library bond that expired this past winter, City Manager Scott Adkins said. The bond had come out to around $7 per household.

“In this case, the bond has already been paid off and is now expired,” Adkins said. “So there would only be a small change in the tax bill (for residents).”

Harvey said that if approved, millage collection could begin on the winter tax bills.

A mill is a tax equal to $1 for every $1,000 of taxable value on a property.

If the millage fails, Harvey said the Library Commission would have to look at all of the library’s services and determine what to cut.

“The collection, staffing and hours,” she said. “We’d have to determine what we could cut, because that’s the only thing we can do is to cut.”

The City Council members offered their support to help educate the public on the millage at the April 26 meeting.

“We’re willing to help you out, “ Mayor Robert Taylor said. “You’re a big part of the community, and we definitely want to help you out.”

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