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Kent District Library proposing millage decrease on Nov. 7 ballot

books in a library
Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 3.0

The Kent District Library will ask voters for a millage renewal decrease in the upcoming November election. KDL officials say the library doesn’t want to ask taxpayers for more money if it doesn’t need it.

If passed, the new rate would reflect a reduction of 10.9 percent off KDL’s current millage rate of 1.2355 mills, making the new rate 1.1 mills. The millage would expire in 2039.

According to KDL this would save taxpayers $3.1 million annually, or $46.5 million over the life of the 15-year millage, while generating $26.6 million in its first year.

KDL officials say this is enough to cover the cost of physical and digital collections, employees, programs and events, tech tutoring and other library services,as well as rent and other expenses.

Lance Werner is the Executive Director of the Kent District Library. He said the library is asking for a reduction because taxable values in the county have increased.

“At the same time we’ve become more and more efficient through the use of technology and through challenging ourselves through process improvement and we strongly feel like we can provide an incredible level of service, the same level of service, [if] not a higher level of service through a reduced tax rate,” he said.

Werner said the average household, under the proposed millage, would be investing about $149 a year and the average person that utilizes the library will get more than $1300 worth of service.

“ “We feel that this is a good demonstration about how government should work, that you shouldn’t ask for money that you don’t need, that it's possible to be better and to challenge yourself to do better,” Werner said. “One of our big sayings around here is "when the going gets tough make a better plan.”

If the millage were to fail, Werner said KDL would be forced to close its doors since a bulk of KDL's funding comes from millage dollars.

The proposal will appear on the November 7th ballot.

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