GENESEE COUNTY — On May 3, one of the issues facing voters will be the proposed millage increase of 0.25 mills (25 cent per $1,000 taxable value) for a period of six years for the Genesee District Library (GDL).
According to the its website, the Genesee District Library is facing major cuts in funding and over the past two years, the GDL has experienced a 57 percent decrease in state aid with an additional 40 percent cut being proposed by Governor Rick Snyder. Nearly 80 percent of the GLD’s budget is from property tax revenue, which has declined by 15 percent.
“These reductions have forced us to cut hours, staffing and budgets for materials, technology and programming. These cuts come at a time when our community needs our services more than ever,” states the website.
With the proposed millage increase, the GDL will use the additional funds to maintain current hours, collections, services and staffing offered at each location. The website also states that the May 3 millage increase proposal is “the first request for an increase since 1998.”
The GDL maintains that if the millage increase is defeated by voters, it will “significantly limit the library’s ability to maintain hours, collections, services and staffing offered at each location.”
The GDL has 19 locations in Genesee County, and its legal service area covers all of Genesee County with the exception of the City of Flint. The GDL and the Flint Public Library are two separate systems, and the Flint Public Library is supported by tax revenue within the City of Flint. The GDL is supported by tax revenues in Genesee County that are outside the City of Flint.
The GDL is primarily funded through property taxes or a millage, and the current rate of 0.7481 mills will expire in 2016. The remaining revenue of the GDL comes from alternative sources such as fees and fines, state aid, penal fines, grants and gifts. According to its website, the GDL operates under an annual budget primarily based on property tax allocations as set by a voter-approved millage.
A potential idea proposed involves the GDL merging with the Flint Public Library to resolve its funding problems. In response, the GDL believes “this option would lead to less potential savings because both library systems already have taken deep cuts as a result of declines in property values over the last several years.”
For more information on the Genesee District Library proposed millage increase, visit www.thegdl.org. For the language that will appear on the May 3 ballot, visit the Genesee County Clerk’s office online at www.co.genesee.mi.us/clerk/ and click on “Election Division.”