Library will not seek millage in 2015

REED CITY — Voters in the Reed City area will not vote on a renovation millage for the Reed City Area District Library this year.

Members of the Reed City Area District Library board unanimously voted not to seek a bond issue to renovate the building at 829 S. Chestnut St., according to an email sent by board member David Bisbee.

Christine Cox, Reed City Area District Library Board president, said the members debated hosting a special election for the bond, but special elections are an expensive endeavor and have uncertain results.

In last year's primary election, voters rejected a renovation bond proposal, which, among other things, would have created a permanent home for the library after the lease at The Annex expires in June 2016. If the funds are not available for the library by that date, the future of the library is uncertain.

In the November election, an operating millage proposal was passed, which will cost district residents 95 cents per year per $1,000 of taxable value for 10 years. The district consists of Reed City, Lincoln Township and Richmond Township.

Instead of using funds for an election, the board believed using the money they have toward the renovation itself is a safer and more proactive option.

For now, the library board is working toward the future, including:

  • Soliciting proposals from architects and engineers to develop specifications and complete inspections for interior demolition at the building on Chestnut.
  • Requesting the city retain ownership of the building on Chestnut Street through The Annex's lease expiration date, or until the District Library Board requests to acquire ownership per the District Library Agreement.
  • Separating the used books currently in the Chestnut Street building into those that can be consigned with Better World Books. A portion of the library's proceeds would be donated to nonprofit literacy partners and back to the library.
  • Seeking funding from sources for the reconstruction work after the interior demolition work is completed.
  • Establishing separate bank accounts from the city for the daily operations of the newly formed Reed City Area District Library.

"The District Library Board is working very hard to explore all options for funding the new library project," Cox said.