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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Another great Daily Trib OpEd

Enjoy the swipe at "opponents" -- Troy Citizens United -- in the last few sentences

Council still has a few options left to preserve Library

We hope Troy city council members can see a way to keep the city's Library open in the fiscal year start ing July 1, and that they can come up with a way to do that in next month's budget talks.
They appear about to consider asking voters once more for a dedicated library tax. But even if voters approve such a tax, it would be many months before revenue rolls in.
If council members don't have a glimmer of a plan for interim funding, it seems cruel to keep the library open through those discussions in hopes that something will materialize.
The facility was scheduled to close April 30. Council members at a recent meeting appeared ready to let it remain open through May 16, although no vote was taken.
But they were looking at the results of another kind of vote which showed strong support for the library.
A survey of city residents, introduced at the same council meeting, indicated nearly three-quarters believe the city should retain or expand library services, with 41 percent calling for expansion.
Nearly a third said the issue was their highest priority. A majority said they would prefer cuts or an elimination of city funding for Troy's two golf courses, special events and festivals and the aquatic center.
Voters last fall defeated a ballot issue that would have provided about 1 mill to fund the library. The ballot question, the result of initiative petitions from Friends of the Troy Library, was narrowly defeated. But three other virtually identical questions were also placed on the ballot, presumably by opponents aiming to confuse and anger voters. They were defeated more decisively.
Those ballot questions followed a decisive defeat a year ago of a 1.9-mill tax which would have blunted the effect of other declining revenues.
The recent survey, using 400 respondents with a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent, also showed that 43 percent now would support a 1.9-mill tax increase and another 9 percent would lean toward it. About 40 percent would vote against such an increase, 2 percent would lean toward opposition and 6 percent were undecided.
Respondents were also asked about a 1.5-mill increase. A total of 61 percent would vote for it or lean toward a yes vote.
The survey and its results may point to the range of options city council members and administrators will consider in coming weeks.
If new ballot questions are among the options, proponents had better be prepared for more dirty tricks.
Opponents, those who placed legal but fake proposals on the ballot, showed residents that an honest discussion of an issue is not a favored campaign strategy.

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