Ann Arbor District Library board meeting (Sept. 16, 2013): Representatives from Pittsfield Township briefed AADL trustees about a proposed State Road corridor improvement authority (CIA) that would entail capturing a percentage of taxes from several local entities, including the Ann Arbor District Library.
From left: Consultant Dick Carlisle and Craig Lyon, director of utilities and municipal services for Pittsfield Township, attended the Sept. 16, 2013 meeting of the Ann Arbor District Library board, which was held at the Malletts Creek branch on East Eisenhower. The men gave a presentation on a proposed State Road corridor improvement authority in the township. (Photos by the writer.)
Planning consultant Dick Carlisle and Craig Lyon, director of utilities and municipal services for Pittsfield Township, described the new authority and the roughly $30 million in improvements it would fund between the I-94 interchange and Michigan Avenue. The intent is to create a four-lane boulevard with a median, bike lanes and pedestrian pathway.
The library’s Pittsfield branch is located in the township, and a portion of the AADL district is included in the northern part of the proposed CIA. Under the CIA’s tax increment financing plan, 50% of the increase in taxable value would be captured over a 20-year period to fund the CIA projects. The captured taxes would otherwise go to the entities that levy those taxes. Currently, AADL receives about $8,536 in taxes from taxpayers in the proposed CIA boundaries.
In responding to questions from trustees, Carlisle alluded to ongoing controversy related to the TIF capture by the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority. He said that’s why Pittsfield Township is offering to enter into specific agreements with each taxing jurisdiction “that will carefully spell out the limitations on what will actually occur here. So this way, there is no blank check. It is very specific that what we are saying here is exactly what we are going to do.”
A two-year disagreement has persisted over the way the Ann Arbor DDA calculates its TIF capture, which includes capture of AADL taxes. For the latest Chronicle coverage on this issue, see: “Library View on DDA TIF Capture: Unchanged.”
When the Ann Arbor DDA was formed in the early 1980s, the state enabling legislation for DDAs did not allow for taxing jurisdictions to opt out of participation. However, CIA legislation includes an opt-out provision. AADL and other taxing entities will have a 60-day period to make that decision. That period is expected to begin when the Pittsfield Township board holds a public hearing about the CIA proposal on Oct. 9.
Based on questions from AADL trustees, they may be skeptical about whether participating in the CIA would be a wise move for the library.
The CIA presentation was the library board’s main agenda item on Sept. 16. The board also reviewed data for the month of August in five categories: Collections, users, visits, usage and participation. In addition, associate director Eli Neiburger presented highlights from the AADL summer game, which wrapped up last month.
During her director’s report, Josie Parker noted that AADL recently released an archive feature on the history of the Ann Arbor Garden Club. It’s part of a broader archiving effort on local history, which includes architecture, cooking, the Ann Arbor police department and several other organizations and topics. Parker said AADL staff would be pleased to talk to anyone who’s interested in archiving the history of other local organizations online.
Parker also told trustees that she’s been invited by the Journal of Library Administration to serve on its editorial board and to write a quarterly column. The journal has historically been limited to administration in academic and specialty libraries, but the new editor and review board wanted to add a public library administrator’s voice to the publication. “I’ve been invited to be that voice, and I’ve accepted,” Parker said.
Items raised during public commentary on Sept. 16 related to a Freedom of Information Act request regarding the 2012 library bond campaign, as well as a plea to renovate the front entrance of the downtown library “from bunker chic to pedestrian friendly.” A topic mentioned at the AADL board’s Aug. 19, 2013 meeting was replacement of the front doors to the downtown library, and possibly undertaking broader renovations at the entrance. [Full Story]