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Berrien Springs Community Library seeks millage renewal

BERRIEN SPRINGS, Mich. -- If you live in Berrien Springs or Oronoko Twp., you can vote on Tuesday to renew a millage that will keep the local library fully operational.

“Two-thirds of our operating budget comes from the money collected through the property taxes,” said Kristina Knezic, the director of the Berrien Springs Community Library.

Because of that reliance on local tax dollars, Knezic is hoping voters turn out on Tuesday, August 8, and vote yes to a millage renewal.

“People should come out and vote just to show their community spirit,” she said.

It’s a spirit that has a say in how the library on Union Street in Berrien Springs will function moving forward.

In total, 11 people work at the library – two full-time, and nine part-time.

Knezic said the millage failing could mean cuts to staff, the library’s hours, and resources.

“It’s something that the board and I are hoping we won’t have to tackle, but will if we have to,” she said.

People come to the library to use the computers, the kids section, and even in the age of technology, they still check out books.

Dedicated regulars like Leallan Eddie stop by several times a week.

“It’s peaceful and very quiet,” he said.

Although signs alerting people to the vote are plastered all throughout the library, Eddie said he’s worried turnout will be low on Tuesday because it’s a special election in August.

“A lot of people probably are aware of it, but a lot of them probably won’t even come out and vote,” he said.

The last millage proposal for the library passed in 2007 by a 2-1 margin, Knezic said.

That meant 10 years of funding for the library.

It expired last December, prompting Tuesday’s vote.

The millage renewal would mean 1 mill of your property’s taxable value will go to the library if you live in Berrien Springs or Oronoko Twp.

If your property is worth $100,000, you’d pay $100/year to keep things up and running at the library.

“It is a great value for the community and for the amount of money that people would be paying for their taxes,” Knezic said.

She also said the library is a popular spot for local kids during the school year because Berrien Springs Public Schools is just up the road.

If the millage passes on Tuesday, it will bring nearly a quarter of a million dollars to the library each year for the next 10 years, according to estimates.

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