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Library millage well worth it

August 2, 2010
The Daily Mining Gazette

Like every election day in our democratic republic, Tuesday's election will be a big day - helping shape our local, state and national government for years to come.

Besides primary elections for several key positions, the Portage Lake District Library millage proposal will be on the ballot for voters in Houghton, Chassell and Portage Township.

We ask the voters of library's district to approve their ongoing support of the institution. Libraries have long been a key part of our society's free and open exchange of ideas. The facility located on Houghton's waterfront is a gem for the greater community. Leaders see it as just another reason people choose to live here.

The library offers many programs for various age groups and has a wide range and ever-growing list of reading and listening materials, as well as Internet access and inter-library loan services.

The current five-year millage of 1.9836 mills annually is expiring and library officials are asking for a renewal of just slightly less (1.9784 mills annually) for seven years.

The average tax per month will be $7 in Houghton, $6.08 a month in Chassell and $4.58 in Portage Township. (A mill raises $1 per $1,000 of the taxable value of the property.)

The millage will raise about $488,000 the first year and provide 87 percent of the library's funding. The state's portion of the budget is .7 percent, effectively putting the "local" in local library. The money is raised here. The decisions are made by a dedicated board of local individuals.

Library officials report about half of the district's 12,000 residents are "active cardholders." The library is open six days a week, including four evenings.

Tuesday's election will also include several key primary elections. Whether for personal reasons or term limitations, Gov. Jennifer Granholm, U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Menominee, State Sen. Mike Prusi, D-Ishpeming and State. Rep. Mike Lahti, D-Hancock are all not running for re-election. A host of names appear on Democrat and Republican ballots for these seats, including Lahti for state Senate. The top vote getters will move on to November's general election, but many fine individuals deserve your consideration Tuesday, so don't wait. The holders of these four offices will surely have a great effect on our future.

Voting is a key right in our nation. Many have died or otherwise suffered to secure that right for the general populace or segments thereof.

We ask that the residents of the Portage Lake District support their library with a "yes" vote on the millage request, and that voters in all communities join them in heading to the polls Tuesday to support our system of government.

Polls will be open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.



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