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  • By Lisa Brody

Baldwin Library millage to stay at same rate

At a presentation of the fiscal year 2018-2019 budget for Birmingham's Baldwin Public Library on Monday, March 19, the library board unanimously approved continuing a 1.1 millage, the same as the current budget year, to cover its operating expenses, and as well as .2983 mills for its Youth Room expansion and renovation, for a total of 1.3983 mills.

The library millage for Birmingham residents for the current fiscal year of 2017-2018 is 1.41 mills, consisting of 1.1 mills for operating expenses and .31 mills for paying off the Adult Services renovation. Library director Doug Koschik explained that for the upcoming fiscal year, the Headlee tax limitation in the state constitution has reduced the maximum millage rate to 1.3983 mills.

“As part of its long-range plan for building improvements, the library renovated its Adult Services area in fiscal year 2016-17,” Koschik said. “The project was accomplished on time and $150,000 under budget, and created a functional and attractive space for study and collaboration. The library hopes to move forward with Phase Two of its long-range building vision – the expansion and renovation of the Youth Room, which the library would like to begin in summer 2019. That project is currently estimated to cost $2.3 million in 2019 dollars. The library would like to start pre-funding that project in fiscal year 2018-19.”

By bringing in additional millage revenue a year earlier, the library would raise $691,417 in 2018-19, and another $684,766 in fiscal year 2019-2020, based on a presumed millage rate of .2819 mills, Koschik explained, based on information he received from the city of Birmingham.

Baldwin Library first levied its own millage in 1998, at 1.75 mills. “In the past 18 years, the Headlee cap has reduced Baldwin’s maximum millage rate to an estimated 1.3983 mills in FY 2018-19,” Koschik explained to the board, with the library maintaining a millage rate of 1.1 mills since fiscal year 2012-2013 for basic operating expenses.

In addition, he said, the library wishes to maintain an adequate fund balance in order to cover its $125,000 insurance deductible, allow a major equipment expenditure in case of an emergency, and permit the library to weather a financial emergency, such as would occur if one of the library’s contract communities (Beverly Hills, Bloomfield Hills and Bingham Farms) gave notice to withdraw from its agreement with Baldwin.

“In addition, the library wishes to keep a small amount of extra money on hand in case it is needed for extraordinary or unforeseen expenditures,” he said.

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