Voters approve operating millage for Clawson library

By: Jeremy Carroll | Online Only | Published May 3, 2011

 Eva Joyce Burns, president of the Blair Memorial Library Board of Trustees, relays election results to another board member late on May 3 at City Hall.

Eva Joyce Burns, president of the Blair Memorial Library Board of Trustees, relays election results to another board member late on May 3 at City Hall.

Voters approved a 0.33-mill tax increase to fund operations at Blair Memorial Library and to allow the facility to be fully self-sufficient.

The vote came two years after voters passed a 0.5-mill increase to expand the building, which opened again in 2010 after a period of reconstruction.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Library Director Elizabeth Gulick said. “I’m overjoyed.”

As property values have declined, so has the funding for the library as it relies on money from a 1-mill tax levy to fund operations. While property values tanked, the city filled in the funding gaps, but this year told the library it would be unable to do so moving forward.

“I was truly uncertain how this vote was going to end up, but it shows our residents really care about their community,” Gulick said.

A total of 54.8 percent of the 2,425 voters approved the measure during the May 3 election.

Clare Mann, president of the Friends of the Library, said the request was very modest.

“I think voters appreciated that,” she said.

Mann said the library would continue to keep a tight belt on the budget moving forward.

“Just like everyone, our budget has to be tight,” she said. “We are not living high on the hog.”

The 0.33-mill request will raise just over $100,000, the amount the library would have needed from the city to remain open the minimum number of hours to receive state aid.

With the average taxable value of a home in Clawson approximately $50,000, the typical taxpayer will pay an additional $15 a year in taxes.

Joal Brown, who was at the polls in the afternoon, said he was proud of the community for supporting the upgrades to the facilities in 2009 and that he was again supporting the library with this vote.

“Now that property values have fallen, they need a little bit more money to keep it going strong,” he said.

A total of 25.6 percent of registered voters in the city cast their ballot in the election, higher than Clerk Machele Kukuk expected.

“It was steady all day,” she said. “We had a pretty good turnout.”