Saturday, Jul 23, 2016
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Politics

Library goes to voters with levy request

0.25-millage would raise $245,000 a year

TEMPERANCE — The new library levy Bedford Township residents are to vote on in August will cost a typical township homeowner about $22 per year, said Jodi Russ, the community librarian.

The figure is based on the average $175,000 value of a Bedford home. The township board last week unanimously approved library officials’ request to place the 0.25-mill tax on the Aug. 5 ballot.

The millage would raise $245,000 annually for five years to be spent on running the library building at 8575 Jackman Rd. and for capital improvements.

The Monroe County Library System provides materials for the Bedford Branch Library and pays for equipment and librarians. Township taxpayers cover the cost of the library building’s expenses, mostly recently through an 0.75-mill levy that expired in 2012. The millage paid for the library’s renovation and building operation.

The Bedford Branch has not spent all of the money it received from the expired township levy. Ms. Russ said it has about $700,000 in reserves to cover unexpected expenses and hoped-for improvements, such as $30,000 to $40,000 to repave its cracked and pothole-riddled parking lot.

The building’s 10-year-old boilers are another cause of concern, she said. Planned improvements this year include replacement of worn carpeting in front of the circulation desk.

At the board meeting, Trustee Nancy Tienvieri expressed her support for the levy request, but asked why the tax had to run for five years instead of four and said she preferred ballot language that allowed a public body to collect “up to” a certain millage amount rather than a specific rate. She also noted that the library building’s budget was $160,000, less than the new levy’s forecast annual revenue.

Ms. Russ said that even though the levy would expire after five years, she expected its funding to last longer than that. She emphasized that funds in excess of the library building’s operational budget were needed for capital improvements and big-ticket maintenance and repair items.

In other business, the township board narrowly approved, in a 4-3 vote, a rezoning request for 16.44 acres on West Dean Road in Temperance to R-3 from R-2A.

Both zoning designations are for single-family residential housing, but the R-3 has softer frontage, area, and setback requirements.

The tract is on the north side of West Dean and east of Jackman, and is proposed to be developed into smaller-sized homes. The township and Monroe County planning commissions recommended denial of the zoning change on the grounds that more intense use would be inconsistent with sound planning.

Neighbors also had complained, but developer David Schmitt told the board he believed he had reassured them. Supervisor Greg Stewart, who voted yes, said, “We need to be pro-growth.”

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