Rochester Hills Public Library Board Cancels Proposed Millage Request

The Rochester Hills Public Library Board (RHPL) has unanimously tabled placing an operating millage request on the November 2019 ballot.

Following a lengthy discussion about a ballot proposal at a special meeting on June 12, the RHPL Board decided to continue the discussion on the topic but to hold off placing a proposal on the November ballot.

“Board members want more time to assess how changes in property values will affect the amount of a future millage proposal,” said RHPL Director Christine Hage. “These changes will influence future library services, repairs to the library building, and how we respond to program and service requests from residents.”

RHPL began losing revenue with the 2007 recession. By 2012 tax revenue from the cities of Rochester and Rochester Hills and Oakland Township had decreased by 20 percent. RHPL responded to the revenue decline by making freezing staff salaries, reducing staff and staff benefits, by delaying maintenance, by re-bidding service contracts, by reducing various operating expenditures, and by drawing down the library’s fund balance.

Since 2012 there has been a slow increase in property values and, hence, revenue for RHPL, but revenue still lags behind what it was in 2009.

RHPL Board President Robert Bonam said that the RHPL Board will continue to monitor changes in property values and develop a ballot proposal that accommodates any revenue improvements. “Until a ballot proposal is presented to voters, the budget adjustments made during the recession will remain in effect,” he said.

“Our goal is to continue providing high-quality library services while factors in our financial environment stabilize,” said Bonam. “Board members are committed to prudent financial management as the board monitor the revenue situation. RHPL will strive to do its best to maintain the current level of services while delaying facility improvements such as the resurfacing of the west parking lot and delaying action on requests for expanded services.”

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