Library millage a concern in Bath

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Bath Charter Township set forth a proposal for a new millage for a public library that went to a vote yesterday, Nov. 5.

The millage, which will support an independent public library, is set to collect $89,000 each year of property taxes and is set to go through 2016. The millage will only support the functioning of the new public library.

Bath held five polling locations throughout the town for yesterday’s vote. The polls were open from 7 a.m to 8 p.m., lending the community a large window of time to vote.

“We’ve had a pretty decent flow,” said Barb Sweet, volunteer at polling center. Two of the locations kept steady voters all throughout the day.

The proposal has sparked confusion around the town. Bath recently opened a library center, a satellite of the Dewitt Public Library, in October. The new millage for an independent public library is not in support of the library center.

“Asking for a millage is a tough haul,” said resident Dave Snider.

Many residents like the idea of a library for using the technology it provides. Commonly, residents like the idea of the library center but the funding of an independent library may be too much. The Bath Library Center is funded through a proposed budget, while a new library will be funded directly from taxes.

“As strange as it feels to not vote to support a millage, this millage is ill timed and inadequate to support a library, so I would like to see us continue with this beginning library and build until we see what kind of community support it has before we attempt a millage,” said Bath resident Martha Mikko.

Many residents are concerned of the impact of the millage on the library center itself. The vote on Tuesday was a citizen petition, where many signatures allowed the board of trustees to pass the proposal to a vote.

“As a library committee member, I know I want to have a library millage, but I want it to provide enough funds,” said Theresa Kidd, Bath resident and secretary to the Library Committee board. “We don’t need a state of the art library, we just want a library that fits our needs in Bath.”

Bath residents would see an increase of taxes if millage was approved. Millage results came through with only 299 in favor and 625 against.

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