By Lisa Carolin
Representatives of the Chelsea District Library made a special presentation to the Chelsea Board of Education and its meeting Monday, June 23, to make the case for a library millage that residents will vote on Aug. 5.
According to a document available from the library in support of the millage, “The library has faced a decline in revenue since 2009; however, through judicious budget cutbacks the library has maintained the current level of services offered today. Unfortunately, with uncertainties surrounding the elimination of the Personal Property Tax revenues, additional revenue loss is imminent. To make up for this loss, an additional millage is being placed on the ballot.”
The owner of a $100,000 home would pay $16 a year for six years if the 0.32 millage is approved by the voters. The owner of a $200,000 home would pay $32 a year, and the owner of a $300,000 home would pay $40 a year.
Kristin van Reesema, a member of the Say Yes to Success Committee for the library millage as well as a former library board member, spoke to the school board about the ballot question.
“The Chelsea District Library is a community center, a place for kids to go after school, and a safe place for kids,” said van Reesema. “I want to make sure that it is financially stable.”
She said that due to a 13-percent decline in state funding in the last four years, the millage would help make up the loss. Without the millage, the library’s hours of operation may have to decrease as well as its programs, outreach services, and materials budget.
Bill Harmer, director of Chelsea District Library, said that he appreciates the support from the Chelsea school district, and had this to say about passing the millage, specifically as it relates to youth in the community.
“Passing the millage will ensure that the library remains supportive of children’s efforts to succeed in school,” said Harmer, who added that nearly half the 2,400 students in the district participate in the library’s summer reading program.
“With uncertainties surrounding the elimination of personal property tax, loss of property tax revenue, the reduction from 1.75 to 1.631 mills due to the Headlee Amendment, and the decline in other sources of revenue, the library is asking for additional millage to continue programs like these to give children the tools they need to guarantee year-long learning achievement.”
According to information from the library, there has been a significant growth in the number of library card holders since 2005 as well as in the frequency with which patrons use their cards.