MONROE — As Elaine Doom sat alongside the Monroe County Parade route recently, she made a point of showing her support for a truck that represented the Monroe County Historical Museum.
A banner reading "Save Our Stories at Your Museum" hung from the side of the vehicle, and museum supporters on board held signs emblazoned with slogans reminding residents to vote in the Monroe County primary on Tuesday.
"It's been around since I've been a little kid," Ms. Doom said. "There's nothing to do in town really except see that museum and the River Raisin Centre for the Arts."
The museum's funding proposal is one of many hot-button items on the Monroe County ballot, which also includes a county library proposal, bus proposals, and fire millage requests, among others.
As of this month, the museum will lose all county-backed funding, which during the past year totaled $130,000. If the museum isn't awarded a 0.1-mill tax — a 10-year levy that museum volunteer Bonnie Finzel-Doster said will raise about $569,000 annually — it will be forced to shut down.
"They're closing our doors August 15 [if the levy fails] because they haven't budgeted any money for next year," Ms. Finzel-Doster said. "[The tax] is pretty essential if you want to have a museum."
If voters approve the tax, the funds will go toward hiring a director and additional full-time employees, opening another day of the week, taking care of long-standing maintenance issues, and supporting other county museums.
The tax would cost $5 annually for the owner of a home with a taxable value of $50,000, and $10 a year for a home with a taxable value of $100,000.
Despite the low costs, Ms. Finzel-Doster said she is not confident that the proposal will be approved, given other tax requests on the ballot.
The Monroe County Library is asking voters to renew a 1-mill, eight-year levy that would bring in $5,695,082 annually. The tax was first approved in 2004.
Nancy Bellaire, the interim director of the county library system, said that like the museum, the approval of the tax is essential to operations.
"Eighty-three percent of our revenue comes from taxes," she said. "It's just vital to be able to continue at the current level of library service — 83 percent is impossible to replace."
Since 2004, money from the tax has gone to services that included computer classes, programming for adults, children, and teenagers, early childhood literacy programs, and a business resource center.
If approved, Ms. Bellaire said the proposal's funds will go toward maintaining the budget as it stands and looking for new programs and opportunities, in addition to continuing to provide electronic resources.
Carolyn Gardetto, a volunteer with Friends of the Library at the Carleton branch, said that if the renewal doesn't pass, "it would be devastating for everyone." She said volunteers have embarked on a postcard campaign, sending out 4,000 postcards to supporters reminding them to vote on Tuesday. They also created bookmarks and participated in the Monroe County Parade, making their presence known with a tropical-themed float.
The tax costs the owner of a home with a taxable value of $50,000 about $50 annually.
Also on the ballot is a county senior services proposal for a 0.5-mill renewal that would last for four years, commencing in 2013. If renewed, the tax would be expected to bring in $2,847,541 for the first year of the levy, which would go toward senior services for Monroe County residents ages 60 and older.
The tax would cost homeowners 50 cents per $1,000 taxable value.
In Bedford Township, voters will decide tax issues for bus transportation and fire and police protection.
Lake Erie Transit is asking for a 0.25-mill renewal for the agency's Dial-A-Ride Service in the township. The tax would run through 2015 and cost the owner of a $100,000 home $13 annually. Dial-A-Ride is the township's only public transportation.
The Bedford fire levy is a 1-mill replacement that would allow the township fire department to recapture funds lost to the Headlee rollback, which reduces millage when the growth in property values exceed inflation. The tax would extend for four years and generate $960,000 its first year. The owner of a $100,000 home would pay about $50 annually.
The 0.4-mill law enforcement levy funds the four deputies under contract to Bedford Township from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. Its renewal would extend for seven years and generate $388,000 its first year. A taxpayer with a $100,000 home would pay $20 a year.
The city of Monroe Lake Erie Transit bus proposal is asking for a levy renewal of 0.75-mill for the next three years that would raise $660,000 in the first year, which would go toward the operation of fixed-route services in the city and the operation of the ADA service in the city. The tax costs $37.50 annually for the owner of a home with a taxable value of $100,000.
Ida Township and the city of Luna Pier each have one item on this month's ballot.
Ida Township is asking voters to back a 1-mill renewal, which would bring in $160,000 annually to support the volunteer fire department. The tax costs homeowners $1 for every $1,000 in taxable value.
Luna Pier is asking voters to approve a 0.5-mill renewal that would last for four years and would bring in $40,000 per year. The funds would go toward repairing the dike system in the city as part of its flood and erosion protection. The tax costs homeowners 50 cents for every $1,000 in taxable value.
Frenchtown Township has two items on the August ballot: a LET bus proposal and a fire request.
The LET bus proposal is for a renewal of 0.75-mill for three years that is estimated to bring in about $902,900 in the first year. The funds would go toward the operation of all public bus transit services in Frenchtown and cost $37.50 annually for homeowners with a taxable value of $100,000.
Frenchtown Township Fire Chief Mark Nicholai said the township is requesting 1-mill in addition to a 2-mill levy that is already in place and will last for another three years. If approved, the estimated revenue in the first year would be $1,163,482, which would go toward replacing fire trucks and hiring additional staff members. The tax would result in an extra $50 per year for homeowners with a taxable value of $50,000.
Summerfield Township has two items on the August ballot, a road proposal and fire proposal. The road proposal is a four-year renewal of a 1-mill tax that is expected to bring in about $120,236.28 in the first year of the levy. The levy, which is intended for road construction and improvement, would cost homeowners $1 per every $1,000 of taxable value.
The fire proposal is a four-year renewal of a 2-mill tax, which is expected to bring in $240,484.92 in the first year of the levy. The funds would go toward the fire department, and the levy would cost homeowners $2 per every $1,000 of taxable value.
Staff writer Carl Ryan contributed to this report.
Contact Madeline Buxton at: email@example.com or 419-724-6368.