2018-08-12 / Insight

Lapeer District Library proposal loses by 1,467 votes

810-452-2601 • npugliese@mihomepaper.com

Jan Watz Lapeer District Library Board President Jan Watz Lapeer District Library Board President LAPEER — On Tuesday, voters declined a ballot proposal that would have provided funding for construction of a new central Lapeer District Library (LDL) facility.

Voters in the LDL service area were asked to approve a 25-year millage, levied at .42 mills for the first year and .34 mills beyond the first year. In total, the millage would have raised an estimated $12.6 million for the purpose of funding the construction, equipping and furnishing of a new facility.

The LDL millage appeared on the ballot for voters in the City of Lapeer and all Lapeer County townships except for Dryden, Almont, Attica, Imlay, Goodland and North Branch townships. In all precincts in the city of Lapeer the millage earned a winning percentage, while the millage received more votes against in outlying townships. In total, the millage failed by a vote total of 7,616 to 6,149 — a difference of 1,467 votes.

According to Lapeer District Library Board President Jan Watz, the board will meet soon to discuss the next steps for the library. Watz said that a defeated library millage cannot by law appear again on a ballot for at least six months. “2019 is not an election year and we probably won’t be paying for a special election,” said Watz. “If we look at something in the future, it’ll maybe be 2020.”

When or if the same proposal or a new one will appear on a future ballot will be up to the LDL board, said Watz. “We’ll spend considerable time over the next few months discussing what’s next, and I personally think that one day there will be a building at that site,” she said.

The targeted site for the proposed construction, on the southwest corner of Davison and DeMille roads, is already owned by the LDL. Watz said the purchase of the property was a prudent decision, and the LDL will likely retain ownership as the board ponders the future. “The only expense is keeping it mowed in the summer,” she said. “We’re excited about the possibility of a library on that property, it’s within walking distance of seven schools. I see us just kind of sitting on it.”

While the millage defeat was a disappointment, Watz said she’s not disheartened. “We will march on,” she said. “It’s all about what you do to support your community.”

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