Library Millage - good or bad idea?

edited July 2008 in Regional
I just finished reading the article in this week's City Pulse about the 0.96 millage proposed to help fund a $93 million dollar overhaul to the library system. This would be an Ingham County millage, the bulk of which would go to fund a brand new library and Impression 5 located at the current site of Oliver Towers (Shiawassee and Ionia) which has been vacant since 2000. As an owner of 8 rental units in Lansing, I cringe at the thought of any increase in property taxes, which I will not be able to offset by increasing rents. (I have actually had to lower rents lately) And after all, I have a computer and internet access already, right?

But on the other hand, I use the libaray and see the lines for people waiting to get online. This is perhaps their only opportunity to do so, not to mention the scores of other materials available. And in tough economic times, education becomes one of the most important investments we can make to improve life for the entire area.

The real reason I will be voting for this millage is because it is a perfect example of what I think we should be doing more of...regional tax sharing. What are your thoughts?


  • edited July 2008
    I'm not sure if this can be considered regional when it only involves one county. Much like the airport and the community college, the City of Lansing ends up vastly bearing the burden of all of these improvements.

    I'm mixed on this. I have recently begun to use the library over the past few years pretty regularly, and at a time when I didn't have a home internet connection, I used it to access the internet. It was almost always packed, no matter one time of the day I went. The downtown library, in particular, needs to be expanded quite a bit.

    At the same time in recent years CATA has come at us with a millage, the Lansing School District came at us with another, the City of Lansing came at us with a park millage, etc...This year, Ingham County is asking for a millage to preserve farmland. It's kind of hard to decide what our priorities should be, as all are noble wants and needs. I'm going to be reading the Lansing City Pulse article, tonight, as I'm not educated enough on this particular millage to make a decision at this time.
  • I'm for the library millage myself. I believe the package of improvements they put together is great, and well worth the money spent. With that being said this is going to be a hard millage to pass.
  • I see the LSJ editorial board gave this the red light. After that and reading the City Pulse article, I'm inclined to vote for it. BTW, the City Pulse shows what other county-wide millages we are currently paying for:


    Countywide millages (tenths of a penny per dollar)
    Ingham County, 2007
    (Not including local and school taxes)

    State Education Tax: 6.0
    County Operating: 6.3512
    Special Transportation: 0.4768
    Emergency 911: 0.8431
    Airport Authority: 0.6789
    Juvenile Justice: 0.6
    Potter Park Zoo: 0.46
    Capital Area Transportation Authority: 2.1838
    Capital Area District Library: 1.56
    Lansing Community College: 1.8176

    Total 20.9714

    Cost to Property Owner, $100,000 Market Value
    ($50,000 Assessed Value) $1,050

    Source: Ingham County Board of Commissioners Apportionment Report
  • I think its a great investment in the library system. Unlike some millages, the Library actually offers a true product that benefits a large chunk of the public. Its not just something that serves people in lansing or just a singular demographic, it actually has benefit to the community at large.

    I know its a touchy argument to make, but by in large its seems like CADL is one of the few millages I personally see some return on my expenses... I don't go to LCC, I don't ride CATA, I rarely fly out of the airport, and since I live in the City... the County doesn't do a whole lot for me compared to somebody in say, Leslie...
  • CADL has done so much to inform and explain their millage request, from public meetings to sections of their website to representatives meeting with neighborhood associations. People can see exactly what the money will be used for, with defined goals. Sounds like great accountability to the voters to me and I wish more millage requesters (read CATA) would back up their requests with detailed supporting information and definable goals and expectations. I agree that it's a tough economic environment for any millage, but I can't see $48/year as a make-or-break amount for very many people...
  • The online version of the LSJ's story on Saturday includes a breakdown of each community's share of the millage.

    Unfortunately, the second table that was prepared wasn't included. That shows the breakdown of where the money is spent. That data is below, for your use and debate.

    Long story short, if you exclude the central services operations, which serve all the libraries and Impression 5, the tax money collected by each community is in the ballpark of what's spent on services for that community. For example, Lansing gets the bulk of construction, but pays the most for the millage.

    How the millage would be spent:
    Lansing (3 libraries): 38.3%
    Meridian Township (2 libraries): 16.2%
    Holt/Delhi: 10.8%
    Mason: 6.4%
    Williamston: 4.1%
    Leslie: 1.9%
    Stockbridge: 0.7%
    Dansville: 0.7%
    Aurelius: 0.3%
    Webberville: 0.2%
    Central Services: 9.2%
    Impression 5 Science Center: 8.5%
    Opening Day Collection (systemwide): 2.7%
  • I really have to say that they have done a pretty good job of keeping the public informed of their goals. I personally think it's an important millage for the area. I really like how Impression 5 would be incorporated into this project. I agree though that it's going to be hard for them to get it passed. I feel bad that it seems like very bad economical timing for them. I only wish that there could be more libraries from the area incorporated into the CADL, but that would be opening up another can of worms like it was trying to get Eaton and Clinton counties to help pay for the airport. And I STILL don't understand why East Lansing refuses to join.

    Anyways, I really hope this passes.
  • Yeah, it really confuses me why East Lansing hasn't joined and they have a city council that likes to play the role that they we want to work with Lansing on issues.
  • I guess they feel that they have a great library system as it is. It's the only other large, established incorporated city in the county, so they have much less incentive to join, to be honest, whereas the suburban and rural townships wouldn't have the money for independent library systems since the whole point of a township is to offer fewer services/government.
  • It would be a great asset to CADL if East Lansing would join it though. I also would like to think that MSU could partner with CADL and actually create a library system that would go from great to awesome.
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