I write to express my dismay that I can no longer count on three public entities to do the job my fellow citizens and I have empowered them to do. We now have to spend $20,000 of taxpayer money to tell our public employees what has been told several times already. This is abuse of the citizens by the bureaucrats. I write, of course, about the unnecessary tax increase being presented to Oxford citizens by the library board.
First, the Library Board has abdicated control over our community employee. The board did not require the proposed massive expansion be properly planned, coordinated, or presented. They simply voted to pass a general idea of a plan – which is not feasible – and make the citizens pay for it.
Next, the Township Board abdicated its responsibility to ensure all items presented to the voters follow established and proper approval processes. The Board had a vote approving the bond be placed on the ballot despite no approval by the planning commission, a drawing that cannot be constructed, no real understanding of the actual price tag when completed, and no agreement by other community entities to relinquish property to the library.
Finally, the Oxford Leader abdicated its responsibility to report all of the facts and considerations that an informed public needs to know. Our American Constitution grants special privileges to the press. With those privileges come profound responsibilities. The Leader’s coverage thus far of the library bond and tax increase can be characterized only as shameless cheerleading for the bond.
Thus, I feel compelled to do the job each of these entities failed to do. Some facts about the library and the funding increase being proposed:
– Oxford citizens currently generously over fund the library:
– Funding in 2020 was nearly $1.4 million which is about $28,000 per week!
– The 2020 budget surplus exceeded $100,000
– The library’s total funding surplus exceeds $1.5 million
– The proposed expansion is not feasible:
– It does not fit on the library land
– Oxford Schools and Oxford Parks and Recreation cannot give the land needed to the north, south, and east to fit the expansion
– The Oxford Planning Commission has not determined the expansion plan is feasible. More appalling – they have not been approached!
– The 55 millage increase represents a 42% increase in our taxes for an already over funded library:
– Paying off a $9.1 million bond costs $13 million when interest is applied over 20 years
– Half of the households in Oxford will pay over $1,600 with many paying more than $2,000 to pay off the bond. This is in addition to the approximately $4,000 – $5,000 these households will be paying over this time already for the library’s operating fund
Our elected officials on the library board and township board have abdicated their responsibilities in failing to apply proper approval processes. Our local media outlet has refused to properly inform the citizens of Oxford of all the pertinent facts surrounding the issue.
Fellow citizens, let them hear us very clearly, AGAIN! Vote NO on this tax increase in resounding and unmistakable numbers.
Major D. Murray, Oxford