Library, Yates Dial-A-Ride up for millage renewal
LAKE COUNTY — With the primary election coming up on Tuesday, voters will be asked to decide on two county-wide millage renewals — a transportation millage renewal proposal and a library services millage renewal proposal.
The transportation millage renewal will continue funding operating funds for Yates Dial-A-Ride to serve all of the county if passed. The renewal is for .4 mills ($.40 per $1,000 of taxable value) for a period of five years. If approved, this millage will raise an estimated $217,564 in the first calendar year of the levy.
“We have certainly had good community support,” said Vedra Gant, executive director for Yates Dial-A-Ride. “The transportation system is utilized in great numbers and the millage allows the system to move forward at a reasonable cost.”
Yates Dial-A-Ride began operations as a public transportation system in 1976 and for the past 14 years, has been supported through a millage due to increasing demand for services along with increasing expenses and reduced state support.
The transportation system is used for seniors, Baldwin school children, patrons and employees of businesses and health care facilities, weekly trips to Ludington and monthly trips to Reed City.
Currently, the millage has been the same for 14 years and costs the owner of a $50,000 home $20 a year. The millage provides 10 percent of the total revenue for Yates Dial-A-Ride with state and federal funds providing the remainder.
“Yates Dial A-Ride meets the needs of so many, while providing a mobility net for us all,” said Ellen Kerans, member of Friends of Yates Dial-A-Ride, a citizens group that supports the millage. “We can keep it that way without paying any more than we are now by renewing the same millage we have supported for 14 years. For many in our county, it’s reliable transportation to work, to school, to appointments, or for errands to the bank or the grocery store. Even those of us who have cars may be in need of YDART as a ‘safety net’ mode of transportation.
“This is a valuable asset for our county — an inexpensive, reliable and convenient resource for all who need it daily to those who need it occasionally. I urge everyone to vote yes.”
Voters also will decide on the library services millage renewal to provide operating funds for Pathfinder Community library, Luther Area Public Library and Chase Township Public Library. The renewal is for .2492 mills ($.2492 per $1,000 of taxable value) beginning in 2019 and continuing through 2023, and will raise an estimated $143,078 in the first calendar year of the levy.
“Libraries, especially in rural areas such as ours, become community centers where friends gather and ideas are exchanged,” said Kathy Oostmeyer, president of Pathfinder Community Library Board. “Through the generosity of Lake County voters, our libraries have been able to expand programming for adults and children, add computers, expand operating hours, make much-needed infrastructure repairs and look to a future where we can continue to be the ‘go-to’ place for all ages.”
A homeowner with a taxable value of $45,000 to $50,000 would see a tax increase of $12.46 per year and a taxable valuation of $95,000 to $100,000 would see an increase of $24.92 per year.
If passed, the renewal will provide continue funding for operation, continued or expanded hours and additional programming opportunities. If the millage fails, it would result in reduced hours of operation, reduced patron services, reduced programming, possible employee layoffs and possible loss of any of the three libraries in the county.
“This will support three libraries for the next five years,” Oostmeyer added.