GP, Harper Woods Voters Approve Library Millage

The Grosse Pointe Public Library system will receive the 0.7 mills it requested in Tuesday's election, which is expected to help the organization continue providing the same services at the same level.

Grosse Pointers and Harper Woods residents approved a 0.7 mill increase for the Tuesday, according to initial results shared by each of the city's clerks.

The millage is expected to raise $1.82 million for the library system over an eight year period and that would affect service to users.

The millage passed with 10,974 yes votes throughout the five Grosse Pointes and a portion of Harper Woods. There was some opposition with 3,557 no votes, also throughout the five Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods.

There is a small portion of Harper Woods that is served by the Grosse Pointe Public School district and therefore the library system that also voted on the issue. Results were not immediately available Tuesday night.

Supporters did heavy campaigning for the millage in the last weeks leading up to Tuesday's election, which also included . The group did door-to-door campaigning, mailings, yard signs and even used a phone bank to contact Grosse Pointers.

There was also a heavy presence of supporters and signage at many of the polling locations throughout the Grosse Pointes Tuesday.

The group, headed up by Grosse Pointer Ben Burns, also had several informational meetings to help inform voters about how the money would be used.

Originally, —the Woods and Ewald. The , however, after board members did research and conducted some focus groups.

Library Board President Brian Garves said repeatedly in presentations before the city councils in the Pointes that the library system is hurting similarly to the municipalities because of the repeatedly declined property values.

The new buildings were built when the economy was in great shape and there was no projected shortfall or problem with paying those off, however the debt had become more than the system could handle after the economy tanked.

Several cuts have already been made in regards to staffing and the elimination of lesser used programs or services but without the millage, the library board said significant changes would be unavoidable. Those changes would be noticed by users, they said.

Here are votes cast in each of the Grosse Pointes:

Yes No Grosse Pointe Shores 581 325 Grosse Pointe Farms 2,542 754 City of Grosse Pointe 1,349 325 Grosse Pointe Park 2,459 694 Grosse Pointe Woods 3,570 1,250 Harper Woods 473 209 Totals 10,974 3,557

The 0.7 mills means taxpayers will pay 0.70 cents for every $1,000 in taxable value of their home, or $70 for every $100,000 worth of taxable value. The millage increase will begin in 2012 and continue through 2019.

Quinn Smith February 29, 2012 at 04:35 AM
Please do not forget there are 2 precincts in Harper Woods at also helped pass this millage....
Sara Eaton Martin (Editor) February 29, 2012 at 04:59 AM
Hi Quinn, The Harper Woods numbers were not available until just a few minutes ago, so the story has been updated. Thanks! Sara
Mickey February 29, 2012 at 05:30 AM
Unfortunate that there are 3557 short sighted people in GP that don't understand what this community stands for. I hope we raise more taxes to keep those types of ill-informed away from our polling places in the future.
Judith Wilcox February 29, 2012 at 12:47 PM
The library has so much to offer now. The people who voted no are people who probably have not even stepped into the library to see what it has to offer. If they used it they would save so much more than the mileage is costing them. They are up to date on videos. Books on tape and every book you take out saves a person $10 to $24 dollars.
Kathy Abke February 29, 2012 at 01:43 PM
I'm just glad it passed.
Chris Hill February 29, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Chris February 29, 2012 at 02:43 PM
As a community, we owe a vote of thanks to all those who led and participated in the volunteer campaign to pass the library millage--special thanks to Ben Burns, Vicki Granger, and the many volunteers who contributed their time and support. The overwhelming support for this millage sends a clear message to new Grosse Pointe residents: GP is indeed a community that financially supports its values--instead of just paying lip service.
Brian Hunt February 29, 2012 at 02:50 PM
So sad that GP Shores had 35% no votes. The highest of any of the communities involved. We need to be a little less selfish if we are to maintain a viable and healthy community!
Chris K February 29, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Let me see if understand the comments here. The library millage passes with a 75% majority and people who obviously supported it are still complaining? Why not publicly flog those who disagreed in the library parking lot? Perhaps those of you whom are so critical should actually go to the library and grab a book about democracy. Perhaps start with the Constitution? Grosse Pointe is truly becoming a sad community where civil discourse is neither civil nor discourse.
Lisa Pinkos Howle February 29, 2012 at 03:22 PM
@Mickey: What exactly does "this community" stand for? Also, you "hope we raise more taxes to keep those types of ill-informed away from our polling places in the future." What does that mean?
Lisa Pinkos Howle February 29, 2012 at 03:26 PM
I've never seen people SO happy about paying new taxes. It's astonishing.
Bob Carr February 29, 2012 at 03:40 PM
I agree that civility of discourse is an escalating problem. The key to reaching reasoned conclusions is the presentation of data and argument. What might these arguments look like? Judith Wilcox's note above makes an argument for the correctness of the mileage vote based upon savings in video rental costs -- this is an argument based upon benefits. An argument could be made upon the importance of libraries to education and property values -- this could be an argument based upon benefits. I may have missed them, but I did not see arguments against the mileage that linked the general argument of "no new taxes" to the specific benefits that not raising taxes for libraries might bring. This is certainly not the place to rehash the arguments one way or the other. It can be the place for celebrating the preservation of our local libraries. But, you are right, Chris, this is probably not the place to schedule the flogging of those who voted the other way at the ballot box.
Brian Hunt February 29, 2012 at 03:44 PM
When we pay taxes to ourselves I have no problem with that. We see the streets get plowed, the grass cut, the parks maintained and police and fire protection and good schools. The taxes we don't like to pay are the ones that leave the state and never return...Federal Tax.
LMJ March 01, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Re: comments to civility... a great start would be to link FB profiles to comments like most reputable news sources that allow comments. This would ideally encourage people to behave as if they would if having the discussion in person. In general, it always seems as if the more combative comments come from those who aren't willing to comment as themselves.
Kim Towar March 01, 2012 at 01:23 AM
Kudos to Ben Burns and all the folks who worked tirelessly to remind us that reading is alive and well!
Lisa Pinkos Howle March 01, 2012 at 01:27 AM
It is?
Chris K March 01, 2012 at 03:18 AM
Did anyone look at the combative comments in last week's Grosse Pointe News directed at those who had the temerity to speak out against the library millage in letters to the editor the preceding week? Likewise with the FB group Citizens in Action...some of the honest comments made there were quickly converted to racist hysteria in op - ed pieces. Nope, assigning ones name does not affect the lack of civility of those who dare disagree.
Chris March 01, 2012 at 03:24 AM
I agree with Bob Carr. His argument is reasonable, logical, and informed. Brian Hunt also makes an excellent point. As to taxes, our house values have dropped and so have our taxes. My husband and I know this personally having returned to Grosse Pointe and purchased a house in 2003.=) We are fortunate to live here, and it is important to support the services that make this a wonderful community--even if it means a slight increase in taxes. If one were to purchase or download four new books a year, that cost would exceed the millage tax increase. Instead, we are now guaranteed access to a library collection, which makes an unlimited number of new books available, either electronically or in hard cover. Perhaps in eight years when this millage expires, libraries will have been rendered obsolete by Kindle, etc. But I doubt it. Thanks again to all those who worked so hard for our community. And to those who disagree, that's the American way. I certainly understand how a senior citizen on a fixed income might find any tax increase difficult. It just would be nice to use a civil tone and refrain from mocking satire--as Chris suggests.
vic f. free March 01, 2012 at 07:32 PM
what do you care if it is someones true name or not....ever hear of a whistle blower.....but if people ever paid attention to the Pointe's and more so the Shores....it is all going down the drain...are you really shocked that the Shores voted no to the libary........they have no money the people are so broke but do not want others to know it is funny......PS do away with dog parks why do DPWs have to maintain a place for dogs to crap...... hold crap parties in your own backyards the Pointes have enough crap as it is...move to the West side....


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