GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Kent District Library is proposing a millage reduction on the November ballot.
The board of trustees unanimously approved asking voters in its service area on Nov. 7 to consider a millage renewal at a lower rate. The proposed rate would be 1.1 mills, 10.9 percent less than its current millage rate of 1.2355 mills.
According to KDL, the proposed rate would save taxpayers around $3.1 million annually, with the average homeowner paying $145.75 annually for access to library services.
The library system said it is able to lower the cost because the community continues to grow, which means there is new taxable real estate.
“The reduced millage will allow KDL to continue offering its current slate of programs and services — and to add new materials, programs, events and services at our historic rates. We remain committed to providing vital access to information, programs and services for more than 440,000 residents in our service area in Kent County,” KDL Board Chair Andy Erlewein said in a news release.
Lance Werner, the executive director of KDL, says keeping the millage rate the same would not make sense.
“Frankly, if we were gonna go for a straight renewal, we would be getting more money that we would have to find a place for and that’s not good government,” Werner said.
The library system says it has a healthy fund balance it can pull from to operate if it has an unforeseen expense.
“We’ve done our homework. We’ve sharpened our pencils and we’ve done our projections and our projections are actually conservative projections, conservative growth. We’re not anticipating any wild taxable value growth and we feel no matter what happens we’re gonna be fine,” Werner said.
If approved, KDL will operate at a 1.1 rate for the next 15 years until Dec. 31, 2039, with the millage going into effect on Jan. 1, 2024.
“If voters approve the millage, they will continue to enjoy the collections, digital access, programs, services and events they have come to know and love,” Werner said in a news release. “We would, however, be forced to close our doors if the millage fails since the bulk of our funding — approximately 90% — comes from millage dollars.”