Voters in Grand Rapids will have to decide if they support a millage for the city's public libraries. On November 7, voters will be asked about a proposed 20 year millage to help support the library system.

The language on the ballot reads as follows:

It is proposed Section 18(e)(3) be added to the City Charter authorizing the levy of 0.3741 mills (one mill equals a levy of $1.00 for each $1,000 of taxable value) for twenty years, 2018 through 2037, to be used for operations, maintenance, repairs and capital improvements of the Public Library which will raise an estimated $1,750,000 in the first year. A portion of the revenues received would be distributed to the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and Kent County Land Bank. Shall this amendment be adopted?

This is not the first time voters have been asked to approve a millage for the library system. The millage currently up for approval is a renewal of another millage approved in 1997 to help pay for expensive renovations to the main library downtown and build three new branches across the city. If the new millage is approved, a homeowner's taxes would stay the same as before.

The new millage would go toward operational costs, maintenance, and improving early learning programs and updating digital resources.

The Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce has come out in opposition to the millage.

In a statement, the chamber says:

While we believe libraries are critical in providing all area residents and businesses access to knowledge and resources, a tax increase is not the best way to support the library's future...The Chamber believes it is inappropriate to use an expiring capital millage and convert it to operations under the guise of a renewal.

You can read more about the millage and what the money will be used for by clicking here.

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