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 Mount Clemens Public Library Director Brandon Bowman points to the area where a staircase will be placed to get to the basement of the library, where the children’s area will be moved.

Mount Clemens Public Library Director Brandon Bowman points to the area where a staircase will be placed to get to the basement of the library, where the children’s area will be moved.

Photo by Deb Jacques


The details behind Mount Clemens library bond proposal

By: Alex Szwarc | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published July 1, 2020

 The exterior facade of the Mount Clemens Public Library is deteriorating, and library officials say it will be very costly to remove and update. For the Aug. 4 primary, Mount Clemens voters will decide on a new bond proposal.

The exterior facade of the Mount Clemens Public Library is deteriorating, and library officials say it will be very costly to remove and update. For the Aug. 4 primary, Mount Clemens voters will decide on a new bond proposal.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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MOUNT CLEMENS — The Mount Clemens Public Library opened in 1969, and since then, some say its infrastructure hasn’t changed much.

For the Aug. 4 primary, voters in Mount Clemens will decide on a new bond proposal for the Mount Clemens Public Library.

Ballot language states the library is seeking approval to borrow no more than $8.8 million and issue its general obligation unlimited tax bonds, payable not to exceed 25 years from the date of issuance for the purpose of renovating, furnishing and equipping the existing Mount Clemens Public Library facility, including all related site improvements.

The estimated millage that will be levied for the proposed bonds in the first year of the levy is 0.87 mills, or $0.87 per $1,000 of taxable valuation. The estimated simple average annual millage rate that will be required to retire the bonds is 0.82 mills, or $0.82 per $1,000 of taxable valuation.  

Mount Clemens Public Library Director Brandon Bowman said all of the library’s HVAC, electrical wiring and lighting is original.

“It’s starting to show its age,” he said. “We’re spending lots of money just to keep things running right now.”

He said the nearly $9 million will allow the library to be utilized in a way that meets the needs of modern-day America.

“The layout is not set up for modern users to have the amenities they want,” Bowman said. “We spend about $70,000 a year to light the building, about twice the industry average for electricity.”

A “yes” vote, Bowman said, means a brand-new children’s area that would double its current size, a larger teen area, spaces where people can teach classes, new LED lighting, new tables with electrical outlets and more expansive Wi-Fi.

If the bond doesn’t pass, Bowman said the library would have to bond-out of its operational budget, which would cost between $200,000 and $300,000 a year.

The $8.8 million figure was calculated after an architectural study that determined what a library of Mount Clemens size needs to provide for a certain number of patrons.   

The library, located at 150 Cass Ave., employs 17 people and typically welcomes 11,000 patrons a month.

To those looking to vote “no,” Bowman said a good library makes for a strong community and improves property values.

“A library also helps educate the population, so if you want to have a good pool of local workers available, having a good library is a great way to do that,” he said.  

Sean Fitzgerald, leader of Yes for Mount Clemens Library, a committee backing the proposal, said the millage amount is nominal compared to what the city will be getting in regard to library value.

“Comparing what we currently have to what we’re going to be having, I think is worth an extra increase,” he said. “An extra $150,000 a year is going to free up a lot of money for us to do a lot more for the community.”  

Fitzgerald said the bond will cost the average Mount Clemens homeowner $3.41 per month.

Regarding COVID-19 and how its economic impact may factor into the vote, Bowman said after the 2008 recession, library usage skyrocketed.

In regard to COVID-19, library staff plans on reopening the building in early July.

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