By Dean Vaglia
Leader Staff Writer
The Oxford Public Library will request Oxford Township hold a special election for a $9.1 million, 20-year capital improvement bond.
Set to be proposed at tonight’s (July 14) Township Board meeting, the bond will pay for expansions and renovations to the library and be subject to voter approval on Nov. 2. The bond will be paid for through a millage levied on properties estimated at 0.55 mills in 2022 and 0.48 mills the following years for the life of the bond — roughly $0.55 and $0.48 respectively per $1,000 of taxable value.
The bond resolution was approved by the Library Board on June 16. Board Vice President submitted the resolution and it was seconded by Trustee DuAnne Cook. Here are highlights to several areas to be expanded should the millage pass.
The Youth Services department’s floor space will be increased in order to house its collections, resources for Early Literacy and Special Needs programs and adding additional furnishings.
The Adult Services department looks to add additional study and conference rooms, a local history and genealogy room and relocating the adult computer lab. The community room will also be expanded.
Renovations mentioned in the document include upgrading the HVAC systems to more efficient rooftop units, boilers and automated controls, as well as adding “a Maker Space Lab for life-long learning.”
“I think it is pretty exciting that we are even looking at this,” Cook said. “Our community is getting larger and we need to be there for them, especially for our next generation.”
The bond is similar to the August 2020 proposal which voters did not approve. The 2020 bond was a 20-year, $9.1 million bond, though it would have levied $0.58 million in its first year and $0.5 million every year after.
While the 2020 bond failed, Cook believes this time things will go the library’s way.
“Last time there were so many uncertainties with what was going on at that time,” Cook said. “There was such upheaval and people didn’t know what their futures were gonna be like with the virus and losing jobs and all that.”
Assuming the Township Board approves the proposal, Cook says the time between now and the election will be spent getting the word out.
“We’re going to promote a little more (than in the past) with advertising,” Cook said. “We probably will not go to the extent that we thought we might before, but there’s a lot on social media, a lot on the website, maybe sending out flyers. There’s going to be a promotion. We want to get the word out.”
The bond will be separate from the library’s monthly operational millage used for buying materials, operating programs, paying utility bills and maintaining the building as-is. The current funding does not provide enough revenue to cover the expansion and revocation of the library, and the bond’s millage will be removed once it is paid off.
The next Library Board meeting will be on Wednesday, July 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the library, and discussion about the proposal is expected to take place. Information about the proposal can be found at https://miopl.org/library-bond-proposal.
By Dean Vaglia