DH libraries to seek millage

Cavernous Explorations at the library
Photo by Bob Oliver
A crowd of children and parents surround Michigan Science Center Outreach Coordinator Charles Gibson as he creates a stalagmite at Caroline Kennedy Library July 1. The experiment was part of an event called “Cavernous Explorations,” which taught visitors about Great Lakes geology, including caves and mines. A stalagmite is a conical mineral deposit that builds up from the floor of a cave due to the dripping of mineral-rich water.

Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS — The city library director is hoping to have a millage request on the November ballot to help increase revenues so the libraries can stay open and continue to offer their services to the community.

In a special study session before the June 25 City Council meeting, Dearborn Heights Library Director Michael McCaffery told the council that he would like to put a millage request of up to .95 mills for 20 years on the November ballot.

There are two libraries in Dearborn Heights, the Caroline Kennedy Library at 24590 George Street and the John F. Kennedy Library at 24602 Van Born Road.

McCaffrey said the library has done a lot to secure other forms of revenue, such as applying for grants, donations and other measures but that they will still need additional revenue. He also said he has considered saving money through staff layoffs, reduced hours and cutting programs, but that they would still leave the libraries in need of money.

“Despite finding alternative resources, property values have left a sizable deficit which is rapidly consuming our fund balance,” McCaffery said.

He added that the additional revenue would allow the libraries to continue to offer their services at a time when visitation from the community is at an all time high.

The library budget for this fiscal year — which began July 1 — is about $1.86 million. This total is a little less than last year’s $1.9 million. Also, the libraries are seeing an increase in salaries and expenses across the board for this year. Salaries will rise roughly $11,000 for full and part-time employees this year.

McCaffrey said the bond would be necessary to help the library in the future.

“We need an increase of revenue of some kind,” McCaffrey said.

The city council must approve the language of the ballot by the end of August for the proposal to be included on the November ballot.

(Bob Oliver can be reached at boliver@bewickpublications.com.)