ALPENA -Alpena County hosted a public hearing before the beginning of the monthly board of commissioner's meeting on Tuesday to provide community members a chance to comment on a pair of millage requests for the Alpena County Library being on the November ballot. When the meeting concluded the commissioners voted to approve the ballot issue via the meetings consent agenda.
Of those in attendance who made comment during the hearing on the matter, all were in favor of allowing it on the ballot, as well as supporting the tax hike that will help fund the library's operations and programming. A 10-year renewal of the current 0.75 millage is being requested, as well as an additional five-year increase of 0.25 mill. The money also will be used to maintain the facility and make repairs that are expected to be needed in the coming year. Steve Wilson said the library is an important asset for the people of all ages. He said making sure it remains viable is something the community needs to rally together for.
"I'm here to offer support to the library. Over the time of working with the library board and staff I have found them to be good stewards of our money," Wilson said. "Our library has evolved with the times and the usage of it is amazing. It is shocking how many people use it and depend on it. This facility is so important to our community, so I strongly support the millage and I hope the board does as well."
News Photo by Betsy Lehndorff
Marsha and Ken Smith of Alpena attended Tuesday’s Friends of the Library annual book sale with three granddaughters from Grosse Pointe. They were among hundreds of people who packed the library’s main conference room looking for great reading. The event continues through Friday.
Joe Garber said the library board is entrusted to operate the library in a manner that is in the best interest of the community. He said Library Director Eric Magness-Eubank and the board of directors have done that. He said if the millages were to fail the library it will be forced to make changes and not resemble what it is currently.
"We believe the community has a strong interest in having a good library and I think by doing so it helps attract people to our community," Garber said. "We do not want to have more frequent elections, but the library needs a steady and stable revenue source and we believe by using the 10 year millage will help us be able to have that. Asking to raise taxes was not an easy or comfortable decision for the board, but there are real consequences if these millage proposals fail."
In other business:
the county entered into a three-year agreement with the Northern Lights Arena-Community to take over day-to-day management responsibility of the arena. Currently there is no ice at the rink, due to energy efficiency improvements being made. The arena is expected to have ice in place by Sept. 1.
Commissioner Lyle VanWormer updated the board on some recent developments at the Montmorency-Alpena-Oscoda landfill in Atlanta. VanWormer said the landfill board just purchased a new water canon that will spray leachate back over the cells and the mist it produces will evaporate, while the pollutants fall harmlessly into the cell. VanWormer said the landfill will save a large amount of money from not having to pay to have the leachate hauled away by truck and then treated. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has signed off on the use of the new machine and it is expected to be delivered to the landfill at some point this week.
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review ... at www.thealpenanews.com