Editorial: Library millages deserve public’s consideration

This week Alpena County Library officials made public their intent to not only seek renewal of their 10-year millage in November, but also to seek an additional 0.25 mills over five years.

As strong supporters of our local library, we believe both should be considered favorably by voters at the polls later this year.

Trust us, Alpena County residents have been getting a real bargain from their local library over the years. Looking at statistics from the Library of Michigan, Presque Isle County spends $52.48 per capita for its library, Alcona County $44.96, Montmorency $37.45 and Alpena $28.28. Should both millages be approved, it would raise Alpena to $31.82.

Libraries exist on millage revenue and penal fines through the courts. Everyone is familiar with how property taxes have declined in value and collection in recent years, which obviously has impacted the library. Penal fines also have decreased, creating a situation that has adversely impacted the library’s ability to sustain all its operations.

As a result, library staff has been reduced through attrition in recent years and sacrifices have been made in overall operations.

But, there comes a point where further reductions would start cutting into the soul of the facility, and officials believe that point is now, thus the need for the new millage as well as the renewal.

“Without it, our collections will suffer,” Library Director Eric-Magness Eubank said.

With the building celebrating its 40th anniversary next year, Eubank and staff are projecting $500,000 in repairs to it over the course of the next 10 years.

Last year 125,000 people visited the library, thus we believe it is a tremendous asset to our community. We will be supporting the millage requests, and we hope you will as well.