Dirty trick by anti-library side

To the editor:

It has come to my attention that a very inaccurate “Fact Sheet” is being circulated to residents of Chassell Township. This “Fact Sheet” is a misleading publication.

Chassell Township residents are being asked to vote whether or not to leave the Portage Lake District Library (PLDL) on August 2. A “No” vote will allow Chassell Township residents to remain a part of the library district.

The erroneous “Fact Sheet” states that penal fines collected in Houghton County are being stolen from Chassell Township. Nothing could be further from the truth. Penal fines are distributed to public libraries that meet qualifications established by the Michigan Legislature and Library of Michigan. These funds would not be given to Chassell Township or the Chassell school library, neither qualify to receive these funds that are expressly reserved for qualifying public libraries. If Chassell Township residents leave the Portage Lake District Library, these funds will be placed in escrow until such time as Chassell Township signs a contract for library service from another qualifying public library.

The fact sheet is true in stating that the Portage Lake District Library does not own the beautiful facility that houses the library. The annual rent for this building, paid to the city of Houghton, is $55,000 per year. This rent is paid by city of Houghton residents with an additional 1 mil levy that they pay in addition to the 2 mil library operating millage to support the rental payments on the facility. Houghton city residents are actually paying 3 mils per year to support the PLDL – not the 2 mils paid by Chassell Township residents.

Please take the time to get the right facts, before you vote on any issue on August 2.

A “No” vote will provide access to the valuable collection, programs and services offered by the PLDL. Over 800 Chassell Township residents of all ages have registered for a library card and make regular use of the library. Last year, these residents checked out 13,300 items. Remember a “No” vote will allow Chassell Township residents to continue their use of the PLDL, one of the best public libraries in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Pam Christensen