Ann Arbor District Library board meeting (April 16, 2012): As previously reported by The Chronicle, a new survey commissioned by the Ann Arbor District Library indicates voter support for a tax increase to pay for major renovations or reconstruction of the downtown building at 343 S. Fifth Ave.
View of the downtown Ann Arbor library building at 343 S. Fifth Ave., from the corner of Fifth and William. The orange cones are tied to construction of what's tentatively called the Library Lane parking structure, being built by the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority. Library staff and board members are again discussing whether to renovate or rebuild this main library location. (Photos by the writer.)
At the board’s April meeting on Monday, AADL director Josie Parker summarized results of the phone survey, which was conducted in early March by the Lansing firm EPIC-MRA. It included 400 responses. She noted that the library’s five-year strategic plan, approved by the board in 2010, includes an initiative related to the downtown building.
The survey indicated that if a vote were taken today – on funding a $65 million renovation or new construction project with a property tax increase of 0.69 mills – 45% of survey respondents would vote yes, and another 15% would lean toward a yes vote. That compares with a total of 37% who said they would either vote no or lean toward no.
Support was even stronger among survey respondents for scaled-back options with lower tax increases. [.pdf of survey results]
“This is a beginning, but it’s a very positive beginning after a long four years,” Parker said, referring to the board’s decision in 2008 to halt redevelopment of the downtown building because of faltering economic conditions.
Later in the meeting, the board voted unanimously to appoint a three-member special facilities committee, charged with making recommendations to the full board.
The April 16 meeting also included a presentation of the draft 2012-2013 budget, for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2012. The budget is based on levying 1.55 mills – unchanged from the current levy, but below the 1.92 mills that the district is authorized to collect.
The budget anticipates tax revenues of $11.203 million for fiscal 2012-13, representing a 1% increase in tax revenues compared to the current projection of $11.091 million for fiscal 2011-12. The overall FY 2012-13 budget revenues – including tax revenue, state aid and other revenue sources – is $12.254 million, compared to the current budget of $12.191 million.
The board is expected to vote on the budget at its May 21 meeting. That meeting is also expected to include a public hearing on the budget, as well as a formal director’s evaluation and renewal of a space use agreement with the Friends of the AADL, which operates a used bookstore in the downtown library’s lower level. [Full Story]