GR voters to decide library tax in November

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Grand Rapids City Commission approved a ballot question asking voters to continue paying a tax that was supposed to go away next year.

The .3741 mill request would support operations at city library branches.

Taxpayers approved that same amount in 1997, which has funded new neighborhood libraries as well as renovations and improvements at other branches throughout the city.

“The operating funds raised by this millage will allow the library to impact three areas: growing reading readiness in children 0-5, increasing the library’s digital collections — both download and streaming services — and maintaining our facilities for future generations,” said Grand Rapids Public Library Director Marcia Warner in a memo to city commissioners.

Some commissioners expressed concerns over how voters may perceive the tax.

“This is not a tax increase, this is a shifting of resources,” said Second Ward Commissioner Ruth Kelly.

Under legal advice, the library is not calling the ballot question a renewal since the tax will go to operations, instead of bricks and mortar as it did over the past 20 years.