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Library delivers quality services to county


To the Editor:

The St. Clair County Library System is requesting a millage renewal to continue quality library service for St. Clair County residents. The St. Clair County Library System is seeking a .7 mil operating millage renewal as the current millage will expire in December 2010. This millage renewal will maintain the current level of library services enjoyed by residents. Eighty-one percent of the library's budget comes from the millage. The other 19% comes from penal fines, fees, material fines, rents, sales, state and local aid, fund balance and miscellaneous sources.

With the passage of the 2006 millage, the library system restored services to the previous 2004 level. This included the restoration of library hours, six-day-a-week material delivery service, the budget to purchase library materials, and computer classes to meet public demand. Furthermore, the library system added additional service hours to several of the branch libraries along with the main library, increased subscriptions to online research databases and magazines, and established delivery service to homebound county residents.

The county library was formed in 1917 and offered the first county library service in the state of Michigan. Since then, the St. Clair County Library System has grown to 11 full-service branch libraries located throughout St. Clair County. The library system was busier in 2009 than at any other time in its 93 year history. More than 844,000 visits were made last year and over 951,000 items were circulated.

In 1994, St. Clair County residents voted to approve a .5 mil of funding for four years. In 1998 and 2002, residents again voted to renew the .5 mil. In 2006, residents went back to the polls and voted to renew the .5 mil along with an additional .2 mil for library operations. Over the past several years, the library system has experienced a loss of funds from the single business tax, the loss of all county funding, and the reduction of state aid. County administrative costs have also increased. The August 3 library millage renewal is critical to the successful continuation of library services.Without the funds that this millage renewal will generate, the library system will not be able to serve the community. The good news is that a millage renewal will not overburden the average homeowner. If your home costs $130,000, the assessed value is $65,000. At .7 mil, your library service will cost $45.50 per year or $3.80 per month.

If you would like a speaker from the St. Clair County Library System to address your group on information pertaining to the upcoming millage, please call 810-987-7323 to make arrangements.

Sharon A. Smith
July 15, 2010

Castle Creek
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