By Rosemary K. Otzman
The Belleville Area District Library Board set a special meeting for 7:30 p.m., April 22, to certify ballot language for the Aug. 5 election.
Ballot language has to be certified and submitted by 4 p.m. May 13 in order to be on the Aug. 5 ballot.
At its April 8 regular meeting, the board couldn’t decide on how long to levy a proposed 1 mill addition to the operating millage to run the proposed 45,000 square-foot library, so it will consider the options and vote on it at the special meeting.
When board members agreed to set the meeting, architect Dan Whisler suggested it be held at the Sumpter Township Community Center, where the branch library is proposed to be.
They decided to give the township board time to finish its 6:30 p.m. regular meeting across Sumpter Road at the township hall, so board members and the public could attend the library meeting.
(On April 15, the library board sent out an email saying the 7:30 p.m. April 22 special meeting location has been confirmed as the Sumpter Community Center.)
The board has already approved asking the voters of Belleville, Sumpter and Van Buren to approve bonds of $19,094,863 to construct the new library, renovate the Sumpter Community Center wing for a branch, and pay financing fees.
This would take a 20-year tax of 1.08 mills the first year and an average of 0.96 mill the rest of the years.
(1.08 mill is a tax of $1.08 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation of property and 0.96 mill is $0.96 tax on each $1,000 of taxable valuation of property.)
In addition, the board unanimously approved, in a roll-call vote, putting the 1 mill of tax for operational purposes on the Aug. 5 ballot, as recommended by the finance committee.
This 1 mill would be added to the .7 mill property owners already voted to pay for operation of the present library in Belleville.
The proposed ballot language presented to the board will be altered to add how much of the taxes is captured by the Belleville Downtown Development Authority and the Van Buren Township DDA and Local Development Finance Authority (LDFA).
These authorities captured $85,308 from the library millage in 2013-14.
The proposed ballot language set eight years, from 2014 to 2021, inclusive, to collect the 1 mill. That would have the 1 mill expiring at the same time as the 0.7 mill which was approved by voters in 2010 for 12 years.
But, the board may decide to have the two operational millages expire at different times.
Proposed 2014-15 budget
At its April 8 meeting, a proposed budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year was also presented to the board. In May, the board will set a public hearing on the budget before its adoption.
The approved expenditures for the 2013-14 budget were $957,400 and expenditures rise to $2,172,582 for the 2014-15 proposed budget.
The new budget has $290,000 for books, materials, and acquisition services; $966,808 for salaries; $323,774 for benefits and FICA; and $156,000 for contracted services.
It estimates the DDAs and LDFA would capture $208,233 from the library operational tax.
Board member John Juriga reported that First United Methodist Church, across Charles Street from the library, will be removing its paper recycling bin because it is redoing its parking lot. Juriga said the library uses that bin to recycle paper.
Juriga said Van Buren Township Supervisor Linda Combs is having the bin moved next to the former VBT fire hall across Fourth Street from the library.
Physical model of library?
Board member Michael Boelter asked architect Whisler to come up with an estimate for a physical model of the proposed library building.
Whisler said he already knows the cost because of another project his firm is doing. He said it would cost about $5,000 and take five weeks to put together.
Barbara Rogalle Miller, a Belleville attorney, asked from the audience about the $32,484.28 expenditure on the check register being approved to Penchansky Whisler Architects for professional design services.
Miller asked if this expenditure would be repaid from bond funds if voters approve the bond and she was told by Deputy Library Director Mary Jo Suchy, that it would probably not be repaid from the bond. This payment is taken from current operational funds, Suchy said.
New library card for eMagazines
Library Director Deb Green said the library has a Zinio service beginning May 1. Zinio is an eMagazine service that offers patrons remote access to more than 200 magazines, from Audubon Magazine to Yoga Journal. The patron needs to get the new library card that hangs on a key chain to access Zinio.
By Rosemary K. Otzman