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Two Items on Aug. 2 Ballot Regarding Cadillac Wexford Public Library Millage

Cwpl

On Tuesday, August 2, Wexford County voters will have the option to choose the future of the, which serves all of those living within the county’s boundaries.

The first question on the ballot is to renew the current millage, established in 1987, at .75 mills. In 35 years, the library has not asked for an increase.

“It is about 75% of the library’s operating funds, which are largest source of income,” says Library Director, Tracy Logan. The other 25% comes from penal fines which are not a sure thing as they are based on the number of tickets written by Michigan State Police, generating feeds, which may or not be paid.

The second question is to increase the millage to .85 mills. For the average taxpayer in the county, that equals $95 a year that the library is asking for its services.

“Our largest cost is staffing,” says Logan. “What a lot of people don’t realize is that the Cadillac Wexford Public Library is actually a county library system. So we are offering locations in Cadillac, Manton, Mesick and Buckley as well. So we’re running a system for to support 36,000 people across the county, and that requires a lot of staff time and a lot of services.”

CWPL operates their four locations on 1 million dollars a year. The average Class V library in the state collects a millage of .91 mills with a total operating income shy of $2 million.

The cost of operations has dramatically increased over the past several years including the cost to operate a building over 50 years-old.

“There’s an increased demand for online offerings, things like e-books and audio books and those,” says Logan. “What people don’t realize is those cost us a lot more than they cost you at Amazon. You can buy an e-book for $7.99. For us, an e-book can cost anywhere from $36 to 120.”

Even reams of paper have tripled from $12 to $35 according to Logan.

If voters approve of the millage renewal but also the increase it will give the library an additional $118.000 to pay staff and for materials.

“This time today, we have circulated over 58,000 physical items,” says Logan. “The worth of those is over $1 million. So by borrowing from us instead of purchasing items, we’ve already saved this county over $1,000,000. And that’s a lot of value just in that small area.”

Anyone with questions about the ballot items can contact the Cadillac Wexford Public Library at 231-775-6541 or reach out via their website.