County voters to consider trio of renewal requests Aug. 6

By: 
Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

KALKASKA – When they head to the polls next week, Kalkaska County voters won’t see anything they haven’t seen before. And, that’s exactly the point.

Voters will be asked to decide the fate of a trio of millage renewal requests in a special election Tuesday, Aug. 6, including a five-year, 0.5-mill request to fund road construction and improvements by the Kalkaska County Road Commission, and a six-year, 0.5-mill issue to fund programs and capital improvements at the Kalkaska County Commission on Aging.

The third ballot issue will be the renewal of a 0.25-mill levy for five years to help fund operations at the Kalkaska County Library (KCL).

“It's essential,” said KCL Director John Roberts. “The estimated millage is about 60 percent of the library’s budget. The library would also not receive about $17,460 in State of Michigan financial aid and about $6,000 in related grant revenue because these funding mechanisms are based on community support through a millage.”

According to official ballot language, the renewal of the 0.25-mill levy would provide funds “for the continued operation and maintenance of the Kalkaska County Library” at the same millage level approved by the voters in 2008 and 2014.

If approved and levied in full, the millage will raise nearly $196,000 in its first year for the operation and maintenance of the county library on Cedar Street in downtown Kalkaska.

“The millage is estimated to generate $195,919 in its first year. Our budget for fiscal year 2019 is $344,250.  As part of that budget, $199,600 is for staff wages and associated costs. Other operational costs include the purchase of books, magazine subscriptions, audiobooks, and

DVDs – the sorts of items one typically associates with libraries. This is estimated at $26,700 for fiscal year 2019.

“And in the last 10 years, especially, libraries are devoting an increasing amount of funding to digital items and "Makerspace" technologies,” Roberts said. “These are things like licenses to download digital books, subscriptions to research databases, 3-D printers, and various computing and electronics platforms. The estimated budget for these items in 2019 is $32,200. And then there are the ongoing costs associated with maintaining our building and its equipment.”         

According to KCL officials, the millage provides the most stable form of revenue for library operations.

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