Funding push 'hampered by confusion and deception,' according to supporters
Thursday, November 4, 2010
By BONNIE CAPRARA
Special to The Oakland Press
Library supporters mourned Wednesday, reflecting on voters’ resounding defeat of four requests to fund an independent library in an attempt to keep the city library doors open beyond June 30, 2011.
“It’s unfortunate that this effort was hampered by confusion and deception,” said Rhonda Hendrickson, of the Friends of the Troy Public Library, which backed Proposal 1.
“I’m sorry for the outcome and that we won’t have a library in July.”
Proposal 1, which would have added 0.9885 mills to tax bills for the next 10 years, failed by a 2.2 percent margin — 15,742 to 15,065 votes.
Three other unnumbered proposals calling for 0.9585 mills, 0.9855 mills and 0.9995 mills were soundly defeated — 23,300 to 4,868 votes, 23,580 to 4,487 votes and 23,948 to 3,985 votes, respectively, on the ballot.
Deborah DeBacker was one of the people opposing the millage.
“We won because the people of Troy listened to some very well-rounded facts, and because (Troy Councilman) Martin Howrylak said there were ways to keep the library open,” said DeBacker, spokeswoman for Troy Citizens United, a grassroots group that rallied against all four proposals.
Howrylak did not believe that Troy residents no longer wish to maintain a library in their city.
“The vote doesn’t mean the people don’t want a library, they just didn’t like the plan that was presented to the voters,” Howrylak said.
“I can tell you that money exists, because the current fiscal year will come in better than expected and I still see some room for give and take.”
Howrylak pointed to the performance of the city’s pension fund, which he said will have a positive impact on the city’s budget, and additional possible funds coming from department reorganizations.
Also, another citizen grassroots group, Friends of the Library with no New Taxes, plans to submit a petition to the Troy City Council that would mandate the city fund a library that would operate no less than 55 hours a week.
Howrylak said the group has obtained the necessary 1,500 signatures needed to present the petition.
“It will be a matter of collecting the petitions outstanding” to see if there are enough signatures to back the petition, said Edward Kempen, a member of the group.
The Troy City Council will have 30 days to accept and approve the citizen-mandated petition. If it does not, the matter will go to a vote in a special election within 150 days after the council’s refusal.
Backers of Proposal 1 were disappointed in the outcome.
Compared to a typical mid-term election, Troy City Clerk Tonni Bartholomew said the 57 percent voter turnout was high.