Fantasy vs. Reality
The Oxford Library expansion plan is an expensive $9,100,000 bond and an untimely idea. Some of our public servants believe in the fantasy that taxpayers are the source of unlimited funds; yet, so many in our community are struggling to make ends meet in this post-covid inflationary period.
Citizens like and use the Library the way it is. I personally visit it biweekly (where I find it 90% vacant 90% of the time). The proposed bond does a disservice to the library as the huge $9 million ask is not grounded in the needs of real-world household budgeting. Inflation and taxes keep creeping up.
Further, this proposal seems to be never-ending as it has been turned down by voters several times, most recently in Nov 2020. In spite of repeated community opposition, the Library petitioned the Township to once again place this single issue on the ballot—at a cost to Oxford taxpayers of $15,000-$20,000—to give us yet another opportunity to say “no.” Does this make sense?
Another reality is that the Library unwisely proposed the expansion plan using property that does not even belong to the library. When property owners, Oxford Schools and Oxford Parks & Recreation, denied the library permission to use any of their land, the Library had to go back to their architect for revision of the plan. The Library director would normally have to go to Oxford Zoning and Planning about the change, too; but he never received formal pre-approval from these commissions in the first place, pre-approvals being the required norm. It’s kinda like, get taxpayer money first, then figure out the plan.
Lastly, the Library publicly admits that the existing HVAC system needs to be replaced and has undergone expensive patchwork repairs over the last few years. Thousands of dollars, in temporary-repair money and higher heat/AC monthly bills, have been wasted while the Library delays replacement of the HVAC in anticipation of getting approval for the new expansion.
Please, citizens, let’s be real and once again vote “NO” on this never-ending ballot proposal. We are Oxford Public Library, MI; not Oxford University Library, United Kingdom.
Ron Piotrowski, Oxford
(Editor’s note: the library owns all land for the proposed expansion.)