A third group – called “LOL=Love Our Library” – has formed to oppose the Ann Arbor District Library’s $65 million bond proposal to build a new downtown building. The group filed campaign finance paperwork with the Washtenaw County clerk’s office earlier this week, on Oct. 2, to form an official ballot question committee. Sheila Rice is listed as treasurer.
Douglas Jewett had filed paperwork on Sept. 25 for the Save the Ann Arbor Library ballot question committee. He also secured a sidewalk vendor permit on Aug. 20 for space in front of the downtown library at 343 S. Fifth. He uses the space to lobby against demolition of the current building, citing its architectural significance. The original portion of the building was designed by Alden B. Dow. His website includes a letter to AADL director Josie Parker, outlining in more detail his reasons for opposing the new building.
Another group opposing the new building is called Protect Our Libraries. It also was formed in September and its treasurer is Kathy Griswold, a former member of the Ann Arbor Public Schools board. The group recently started putting up yard signs.
Getting an earlier start was the pro-bond committee called Our New Downtown Library, led by Ellie Serras. That group officially formed in July, but had been working on a campaign to support the bond proposal for several months before that. Serras had updated the library board about the committee’s efforts during public commentary at the board’s Aug. 20 meeting.
The AADL board voted in July to place the bond proposal on the Nov. 6 ballot. The 30-year, $65 million bond question will appear on the ballot as Proposal 1, with the following ballot language: “Shall the Ann Arbor District Library, formed by the Ann Arbor Public Schools and the City of Ann Arbor, County of Washtenaw, State of Michigan, borrow the sum of not to exceed sixty-five million dollars ($65,000,000) and issue its general obligation unlimited tax bonds, in one or more series, payable in not to exceed thirty (30) years from the date of issuance of such bonds, for the purpose of paying all or part of the costs of constructing, furnishing and equipping a new main library building to be located at the current site of the downtown library building, including costs related thereto?”
If approved, it’s estimated that an 0.56 mill tax would be levied in 2013 – or $56 for every $100,000 of a home’s taxable value. The estimate for the average annual millage rate needed to pay off the bonds over the 30-year period is 0.47 mills. That amount would be in addition to the library’s operating millage. AADL is authorized to collect up to 1.92 mills, but currently levies only a portion of that – 1.55 mills.