Editorials

Lbrary Millage: Millage Vote "Yes" to support our library 2015.07.29

Tecumseh District Library. Hudson Carnegie District Library. Lenawee District Library. Adrian District Library. Stair District Library.

Sense a trend here?

Tecumseh has been a district library since 2003, but four of the county’s seven libraries have moved from public to district status in the last two years. In each case, the libraries were not receiving enough funding from their municipality so they turned directly to the voters.

That's where Stair District Library is today.

Nobody especially wanted to become a district library. But it was the only configuration that could provide the funding, the fairness, and the stability that comes with citizens who are concerned about the library deciding the fate of their library.

Instead of one particular set of council members deciding how much money the library will receive, all the voters in the library district decide. It’s true that funding  from the City might improve when new council members are sworn in later this year, but it’s just as likely that it could grow even worse. 

We want to clarify some confusion and misinformation pertaining to next week’s vote.

• Who can vote? All registered voters who live in the Morenci school district can participate, as long as their residence is in Morenci, Medina Township or Seneca Township.

• Why is it in August? The district library board was sensitive to concerns that appearing on the ballot at the same time as the school millage renewal in May might potentially jeopardize the school's chance of renewal. 

The library board discussed putting it on the November ballot to save on election costs, but the timeframe was judged too short to complete the paperwork needed to put the millage on the December tax bill. Collecting the millage sooner, in December, was judged more cost effective than possibly having to wait until August 2016 to begin receiving funds generated from a millage passed in November 2015.

If voter turnout is low, election, but it’s not the reason for it. We hope voters turn out in large numbers to support the measure.

• By separating from the city, could the library suffer the same fate as Morenci Area Hospital? The hospital was never funded by an area millage. The library proposal would provide a steady source of income, free of the whims of politicians and unaffected by factors such as changing insurance regulations and the lack of customer support.

• Is a new millage the only way to save the library? The library board never said that it’s the only way, but this approach has proven successful in districts across the state. The board does believe it’s the best approach or it wouldn’t be asking citizens for approval.

It’s time now to approve the millage request and keep Stair District Library in a strong position financially. Politicians can continue to discuss alternatives, but now is the time to support our library.