By Diane Madigan
Independent Special Writer
The Belleville Area District Library Board will get updates on new appraisal figures for the DNR site and the house next door at its next regular meeting at 7 p.m. April 9.
But, it will be delivered in closed-door session at the end of the meeting, so the public won’t get to share those figures.
Bob Vogt, who was hired by the library to appraise the vacant, lakeside DNR property north of the bridge and the Spencer house next door, recently was asked by the DNR for more appraisals.
They asked for what the house’s land would be worth without the house on it and how much property along Belleville Lake is worth.
Those are the figures expected to be disclosed to board members April 9.
The library board has been trying to select a site for a proposed future library building and the DNR site has been the favorite.
At the library board’s regular meeting March 12, chairwoman Mary Jane Dawson said, “They want an idea of basically what the dirt would cost without the house on the Spencer property.”
Dawson said she received the report from Vogt earlier that day and sent it to library attorney John Day.
Day suggested the board either come together at the next regularly scheduled meeting or hold a special meeting to discuss the information. After much discussion, it was decided to wait for the next regular meeting.
In discussing lakeside property, someone said there wasn’t much vacant land left around Belleville Lake. Board member John Juriga said there still is the large Robb Farm on the east end of the lake.
Dawson said the library also wants to set up a meeting with Van Buren Township officials and DNR representatives to discuss the site, since some of the township officials, including Supervisor Linda Combs, are new and weren’t involved in previous talks.
Juriga pointed out that VBT Trustee Jeff Jahr and Treasurer Sharry Budd have been involved.
The Independent asked what has been done to move the DNR property from the Recreational Trust to the Fishery Department, since a proposed library would share the site with fishermen. Dawson said that can’t be done until there is some type of agreement to swap property.
Dawson said they are dealing with the DNR’s Appraisal Department now and they didn’t find out until last August that they had to go through the Appraisal Department first.
In other business at the 56-minute March 12 meeting, the library board:
• Approved accepting the continuing deposit security agreement as written. At the last library meeting there was concern about the district library bank account exceeding the $250,000 FDIC limits. Asst. Director Mary Jo Suchy and Accountant Ron Traskos went to Chase Bank to set up a collateralized account. Suchy explained that in collateralized accounts, Chase uses a third party to monitor the balances and security accounts, pledging US Treasury bills, notes and bonds as collateral. The bank pays all costs associated with collateral accounts saving the library $1,454 per year in service fees. Currently the district library receives .02% rate on savings. Juriga suggested using another bank or credit union for amounts over $250,000. Treasurer Elaine Gutierrez agreed the board has to be more fiscally intelligent once the library gets a bond with hundreds of thousands of dollars moving in. Doing investment securities is higher federally insured, she said;
• Thanked the Van Buren Civic Fund for its grant of $6,450 towards the purchase of two AWE children’s learning stations that cost $7,400. Each learning center offers 80 software programs, touch screens, colored keyboards, and small mouses for small hands. According to the AWE website, the stations enable children to learn how to learn;
• Learned City of Belleville resident Conrad Welsing has agreed to help the Marketing Committee develop a mission statement and a marketing plan. Welsing is a retired marketing director for Detroit Public Library and also taught marketing at Wayne State University. The Marketing Committee is made up of Juriga, Gutierrez, Michael Boelter, Library Director Debra Green, and Deputy Director Suchy;
• Learned there has been a big response to the new Literacy Project, with about 24 tutors showing up to be trained. The project uses the library meeting room on Tuesdays, except when the district library board meets. Boelter and his wife Kelly have committed to the program for a year and will be trained to do the initial learner assessments with part-time librarian Dan Lodge, who is directing the program. Nakenya Yarbrough volunteered to assist with organizational tasks. The initial training is 15 hours and started March 19. The tutors will be trained before the project reaches out to seek learners; and
• Was informed that Library Week is April 14 – 20. During the whole month of April the library will be promoting Food for Fines for Gleaners. With the exception of lost books, any late fines or fees up to $5 can be forgiven with donations of canned foods.
The audience for the March 12 meeting of the district library board consisted of three members of the Press and no residents.
By Diane Madigan