The Dexter District Library is asking the voters for help

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Voters on November 8 will play a big part in the future of the Dexter District Library.

On the ballot is a millage renewal question for the Dexter District Library. The library is seeking renewal of 0.6620 mills.

According to the Washtenaw County Clerk’s website, here’s how the yes or no ballot question reads:

“Dexter District Library-1 Proposal

Library Millage Renewal

Shall the Dexter District Library, Counties of Washtenaw and Livingston, be authorized to levy annually a renewal of the previously voted increase in the tax limitation, which expires in 2022, in an amount not to exceed .6620 mill ($0.6620 on each $1,000 of taxable value) against all taxable property within the Dexter District Library district for a period of six (6) years, 2023 to 2028, inclusive, for the purpose of providing funds for all district library purposes authorized by law? The estimate of the revenue the Dexter District Library will collect if the millage is approved and levied in the 2023 calendar year is approximately $1,072,000.”

The library’s current millage is set to expire after the December 2022 tax levy. Renewal of the millage will allow it to continue to provide the public with service through 2028.

The Sun Times News (STN) reached out to the library to learn more about this renewal proposal.

According to the library, “this millage represents approximately 61 percent of the library’s annual operating income. The request is a straight renewal of existing funding.”

The library said the renewal would provide an additional six years of library funding and maintain the Dexter District Library’s levy as the second lowest millage rate for libraries in Washtenaw County.

Placing the issue on the November ballot eliminates all election costs to the library.

STN asked Library Director Paul McCann why this renewal is important.

He answered, “The renewal of the 0.6620 mills comprises the core support for ongoing library operations, bringing in approximately 60 percent of annual funding. This level of support allows the library to be open seven days a week, provides a substantial portion of funds for new materials and staffing and allows the library to provide the ongoing level of programming, including our robust Summer Reading programs, throughout the year. This support also pays for utilities as well as routine repairs and maintenance.”

To give some insight into what it does, offers and who it serves, the library offered up these highlights:

During the past year, the library has:

  • Greeted over 106,000 visitors - an average of nearly 300 visitors per day who make a stop in downtown Dexter
  • Loaned over 400,000 books, magazines, audio books, DVDs, music CDs, digital downloads, events and programs providing an approximate value of $4.9 million to residents
  • Added nearly 13,000 new items to the collection
  • Provided nearly 21,000 computer and wireless session connections for individuals using the Library’s Internet access and computers
  • Offered an average of one free, educational or entertaining Library program per day for children, teens and adults
  • Maintained open hours for the public at seven days and 72 hours each week

STN asked McCann what happens if it’s not approved.

He said, “The currently approved operational millage will be collected in December, 2022 and provide funding through 2023. During that time, we expect no changes in services. The library opts to place our renewal issues on Gubernatorial and Presidential ballots in order to ensure larger voter turnout and avoid election related costs. Should the issue not be approved, the library will undertake a community input process to determine an acceptable level of funding and return to the ballot in 2023. The current millage expires after 2022 and some form of renewed funding would need to be secured in 2023 to avoid reductions in service. Unfortunately, placing an issue on the ballot in 2023 would come with election related costs to the library, which are not present when we place issues on the general elections ballots. The current ballot question is a straight renewal of existing funding and represents no new taxes.”

To get a better idea as to what it means to you, the library provides a “value calculator” that gives citizens the ability to translate their use of the library into a monetary value and compare that value with the amount of taxes paid for library support.

It can be found at: http://www.dexter.lib.mi.us

If you have questions about the ballot issue, McCann said you can call him at the library at 734-426-4477 or contact him through email at pmccann@dexter.lib.mi.us.

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