On Tuesday, November 5th, 2019 the residents of the Portage District Library district will vote on a ballot proposal to add an additional millage to the library’s current funding.
There will be a millage request on the ballot on Tuesday, November 5th, 2019. To register to vote or for additional voting information, please visit www.michigan.gov/vote. The last day to register to vote is Monday, October 7th, 2019. The last day to request an absentee ballot from the City Clerk’s office is Friday, November 1st, 2019.
There will be a millage request on the ballot on November 5th, 2019. The measure will be for an additional 0.5 mill for 10 years. The exact wording will be:
“Shall the Portage District Library, County of Kalamazoo, Michigan, be authorized to levy a new additional millage in an amount not to exceed .5 mill ($.50 on each $1,000 of taxable value) against all taxable property within the Portage District Library district for a period of ten (10) years, 2019 to 2028, inclusive, for the purpose of providing funds for all district library purposes authorized by law? The estimate of the revenue the Portage District Library will collect if the millage is approved and levied by the Portage District Library in the first year (2019) is approximately $1,204,000. By law, revenue from this millage may be subject to capture by the Portage Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and the Kalamazoo County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.”
A Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (BRA) develops and implements brownfield projects, through the use of Tax Increment Financing (TIF), to finance improvements to properties that otherwise may remain contaminated, abandoned or blighted. By law, a BRA can develop a plan by which it uses property taxes on the increased value of property within its Authority to fund redevelopment costs.
The only taxes that are captured are those that relate to the property within the BRA. As a property increases in value, the taxes related to the increased value of that property are captured and used to fund the redevelopment costs. Once the redevelopment costs have been repaid, the captured property taxes will revert back to the taxing entity (i.e. the Library) in full. This type of financing method only defers property taxes until the redevelopment costs are repaid.
We estimate that 99% of the property in the Library’s district is not impacted by any tax capture by the BRA. For the brownfield properties that exist within our area, they will only capture a very small portion of our new additional millage for a temporary amount of time.
By law, the Library is required to notify voters on the ballot when asking for new millages or renewals of the possibility of a tax capture as a means of transparency. The ballot language for the November 5th, 2019, new additional millage was drafted with the assistance of a lawyer to ensure that we were in compliance with this law.
Registered voters who reside within the Portage Public School District may vote on November 5th, 2019. You do not need to be a homeowner to vote. To register to vote or for additional voting information, visit www.michigan.gov/vote. The last day to register to vote is Monday, October 7th, 2019. The last day to request an absentee ballot from the City Clerk’s office is Friday, November 1st, 2019.
The last time the Portage District Library millage rate changed was in 1992 when the community voted to increase the library’s millage from 1.0 mill to 1.5 mills.
The last time the Portage District Library (PDL) millage rate changed was in 1992 when it increased from 1.0 mill to 1.5 mills. Over the last 27 years, the library has seen advancements in technology that were not present in 1992, including wireless Internet access and self check-out. New services and formats, such as ebooks, DVDs, and online databases, have also been added.
The original library building dates back to 1976, with the atrium and lower lever expansion taking place between 1994 and 1996. While PDL has repaired or replaced several key components of the library’s infrastructure in the last 23 years, there will be expenses related to replacements or upgrades of the aging facility and infrastructure in the near future. These may include new carpeting, converting light fixtures to LED, replacing an elevator, and adding a security camera system.
The elected Library Board of Trustees voted to request the additional funds because the library is currently at capacity for collections, staff, programs, facilities, and services.
If the proposed millage is approved, the Portage District Library will use input it has received from community members to begin finalizing plans on building enhancements that meet their changing needs. The library will be better equipped to create programming that promotes interactive learning, extend services in new dynamic formats, and build outreach services as set forth in the strategic plan.
Without additional funding, the Library’s budget projections show that patrons may experience fewer operating hours, a decrease in new materials, over-crowded programs, longer wait times, and limited access to new services and technology.
Yes. Last year we added more than 3,500 new card members and our patrons checked out or downloaded nearly 811,000 items. Our library computers and Wi-Fi were used 128,711 times, and we had 26,644 people attend 649 programs.
The requests asks for $0.50 per $1,000 of taxable value of property be levied for a period of ten years. The cost per individual taxpayer will depend upon the taxable value of their home.
A homeowner within the Portage District Library district with a residence with a market value of $175,000 would pay no more than an additional $43.75 in taxes per year, or $3.66 per month.
Residents of the library district currently pay a total of 1.5 mills on the taxable value of their home per year for library operation. The taxable value of a home is no more than 50% of the market value and could be less if the resident has lived in their home for more than one year. Therefore, if the market value of a home is $175,000, the tax paid for library operations currently would be no more than $131.25 per year, or $10.94 per month.
At this point in time we do not have specific facility expansions in mind. All changes to the library building will be made with public input to determine the areas of greatest need. We have consulted with an architect to plan for additional growth in collections and services as our community grows, and have evaluated what funding increases would allow us flexibility to be able to grow with our community.
The Portage District Library staff would be happy to answer any questions you may have. For more information, please contact: