Kent District Library to Ask Voters for One-Year Nonrenewable Millage to Bridge 2025 Funding Gap

Kent District Library to Ask Voters for One-Year Millage on Aug. 6 Ballot to Bridge 2025 Funding Gap

On August 6, 2024, residents in the Kent District Library service area will be asked to consider a one-year nonrenewable millage to bridge a funding gap in 2025.

  • If residents vote “yes,” KDL will be able to continue operations during 2025.
  • If residents vote “no,” KDL will have to severely limit operations during 2025, likely closing branches, laying off team members and reducing programs and services.

Gap Funding. Same Rate. No Overlap.

How Did We Get Here?

In November 2023, Kent County voters approved a 15-year renewal millage for the award-winning library system. Unfortunately, the approved ballot language does not give KDL the authority to assess the new millage until December 2025, which means we do not currently have the ability to raise funds for 2025.

An issue with the 2023 millage dates occurred inadvertently and has resulted in our need to go back to voters for a one-year millage to fill this funding gap.

What’s the Cost?

The Aug. 6 ballot question will be at the rate of 1.1 mills and is estimated to generate $27.6 million over the year.

The average homeowner in the KDL service area will pay $145.75 annually, which is about the same as homeowners are paying now. This one-year gap millage continues at the same millage rate, with no overlap, no double-dipping and will not cost taxpayers to appear on the ballot.

This means the average weekly cost for access to our broad array of services is about $2.80, less than the cost of most cups of coffee.

By the Numbers: Kent District Library

KDL serves residents in 27 municipalities through 20 branches, an Express Library, a bookmobile, our main service center, 5,000-plus annual in-person programs and a host of patron-focused services, from in-branch printer/Wi-Fi access and loanable mobile hot spots to early literacy initiatives and an extensive collection of talking books and Braille resources.

KDL’s collection is vast, with more than 700,000 physical items and 15.6 million digital items. These include books, e-books, apps, magazines, movies, television programs, audio books, video courses, video games, music, online databases, research materials and at-home learning materials, as well as access to statewide materials and collections.

Known for our family-friendly programs, KDL offers more than 6,400 programs and outreach events each year, from our popular baby/toddler/preschool storytimes, learning labs and craft classes to book clubs, concerts and special activities.

Why This Matters

More than 90% of KDL’s operating costs are paid by millage dollars, which covers the costs of the physical and digital collections, employee salaries and benefits, programs and events, tech tutoring, library services, rent and other expenses. KDL employs more than 340 people and receives 5,900-plus hours annually from more than 650 volunteers.

If the gap ballot question does not pass voter approval in this election cycle, KDL will be forced to make substantive cuts to its team, hours, branches, services and programs in 2025.

What is the Ballot Language?

On May 2, 2024, the Kent District Library Board of Trustees approved a resolution with the following ballot language to appear on the August 6, 2024 election:

Shall the Kent District Library, Kent County, Michigan, be authorized to levy a renewal of the previously voted increase in the tax limitation which expired in 2023, in an amount not to exceed 1.1 mills ($1.10 per $1,000 of taxable value) (this millage is a renewal at a lower rate than the previously authorized millage of 1.28 mills, as reduced to 1.2267 mills by the required millage rollbacks, that was approved by voters in 2014 and expired following the 2023 levy) against all taxable property within the Kent District Library district for a period of one (1) year in 2024, to operate the Kent District Library in 2025 and provide funds for district library purposes authorized by law? This millage is estimated to provide revenues of $27,570,000 in the first and only year of the levy. To the extent required by law, a portion of the revenues from this millage (estimated to be approximately 1.1% in the first and only year of the levy) will be captured by or disbursed to the following authorities: the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority and the Brownfield Redevelopment Authorities of the Cities of Grandville, Kentwood, Rockford, Walker, and Wyoming.

This web page will be updated periodically with additional information and answers to questions.

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