Thursday, July 29, 2021

Library asking voters to OK lower operating millage

Westland voters will be asked to approve a new, lower millage rate for the library during the Aug. 3 election.

A ballot question asking for a 10-year, .85 millage to support library operations will replace the current .975 rate currently levied in the city to fund the $3.6 million library budget. That millage is set to expire this year. Library officials said the new rate would generate $1.4 million in funding the first year.

The millage funding would be used to pay staff salaries, operate programs and purchase books explained Library Director Jennifer Roth. During the forced closure during the pandemic, the library did not order books and saw a marked decline in everyday operating expenses.  That savings, however, was offset by a number of delayed and neglected repairs at the building, she said, including a 27-year-old roof, leading windows and worn carpet. Those improvements and repairs, including accommodations for the 60 available computers in the building, will take most of the current $4.5 million fund balance, she explained.

The facility has now reopened at regular hours and operations, and an open house to provide information regarding planned improvements and repairs at the facility and the new, lower operating millage question is planned for 4-7 p.m. Aug. 11.

Roth said that without approval of the operating funds by voters, the library would be forced to reduce expenses, including reduced hours and staffing.