Northville District Library Budget Crisis Fact Sheet
The bulk of the Library's funding (about 96%) comes from property taxes paid by the residents of the Northville Library District. Established in 1994, the Library District is comprised of the Township of Northville and the City of Northville, and is a standalone unit that does not get revenue from either the Township or City. The community voted a one mill levy to operate the Library when the District was established. This rate has been eroded by the Headlee rollback to .9573. (Residents also pay about .2 mills to retire the library building debt.) Other forms of income include Library fines and fees, state aid, penal fines and interest income, all of which comprise about 3% of the budget. Gifts and donations from the Friends of the Library make up about 1% of the budget. We also have a small but growing Endowment Fund.
Why is there a budget crisis now?
Property values have been declining, with tax revenue decreasing since 2008. State aid has been cut by 40% and interest income is almost non-existent. Projecting to 2012, revenue will be reduced by approximately 21% from 2008.
What cuts have been made so far?
For the past two years, Library salaries have been frozen, and staff have been paying a percentage of their health care premiums. The budget for materials - books, movies, music, etc. - has been cut. The Friends pay for a large part of program costs. Overdue fines were increased. Funds for staff training have been largely eliminated. We have been using the Reserve Fund - revenue set aside in previous years - to close the gap. We've implemented a more efficient checkout system and installed energy efficient lighting.
What will happen if the Library does not increase revenues next year?
Possibilities include closing the library one day a week; reducing staff; eliminating programs such as storytimes, computer classes and teen events; drastically cutting the budget even further for books, DVDs, and other materials; and dropping subscriptions to specialized online resources like ValueLine, Ancestry and Mango Languages.
How can these cuts be avoided?
The Library Board of Trustees has voted to place a request for a .2 (two-tenths) mill increase for five years on the November 2nd ballot. The cost to a homeowner of a $300,000 home (a $150,000 taxable value) would be $30.
(One mill equals $1 for every $1,000 of taxable value.) This modest increase is projected to give the Library approximately $400,000 of additional revenue in 2011.
Why can't the Library add user fees to materials, library cards, storytimes and meeting room space?
This was one option the Board of Trustees considered. However, fees such as these would not be nearly enough to cover the projected shortfall. The Northville District Library works to ensure equitable access to all residents, and user fees threaten this access. As a member of the American Library Association, the Library is guided by the belief that free access to information is the cornerstone of a democratic society.
What taxes am I currently paying for my Library?
The current operating millage is .9573. The debt millage (due to retire in 2015) is .1989.
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