2010 Library Millage Town HallOn Tuesday October 12th 2010, at the City Commission meeting, an hour and forty eight minute Town Hall was held in which residents could voice their opinion on the upcoming Library Millage. It was the second library election in two years. If there was a Town Meeting for the 2009 millage it does not exist on tape. 2010's Town Meeting does and you may witness it in it's entirely by clicking 2010 October 12th Library Millage Proposal. You will be connected to Vimeo, which maintains archived records of many area meetings, television shows, and events. Vimeo is part of Bloomfield Cable Television and you may also be able see many of these programs on Cable TV. For information on programming and services (For a nominal fee they will even make copies of meetings or programs) click on BCTV. The library Town Hall begins at the 28 minute mark and ends at the one hour and forty minute mark.
BackroundIn 2009 the City Commission negotiated a 3 year $500,000 library agreement with the Bloomfield Township Public Library. City residents then rejected a millage that would have funded it . In 2010 city resident, Mr.Larry Neal, acting as a private citizen placed another library proposal on the first available election which was the fall 2010 one.. Mr Neal, is by profession, a librarian who is the Director of Clinton Macomb District Library which serves 165,000 people in Macomb County. Using a 19th Century Library provision, Mr. Neal was able to initiate a ballot proposal with very few required signatures in a very short period of time. The proposal called to the creation of a City of Bloomfield Hills Library Board to be funded by approximately $480,000 year for six years. The newly created library board would then the negotiate for library privileges.By the terms of the 19th Century proposal Mr. Neal used, only adjacent communities could be negotiated with. That meant the only possible libraries for the City of Bloomfield Hills, if his proposal passed, would be the Bloomfield Township Public Library and the Birmingham Baldwin Library.
With four or five exceptions all the speakers speak in favor the library millage. Politically this known as packing a room. The forces of opposed to the millage would have done the same thing if they had been able, but could muster less than a half dozen supporters. The majority of voters who decided the issue on election day paid no attention to what was said at the Town Hall meeting. It is presented here simply as a vantage point to viewpoints.
About two thirds of the way through the meeting the topic of letters sent to voters is discussed . In 2009 the library millage was presented on the May City Election Ballot. The City election was days after Chrysler and General Motors declared bankruptcy. The City Commission had at that time written a letter to all residents stressing the need for financial prudence in those difficult times. Some library supporters took this a slam on the proposed library referendum. The various references to Police/Safety stem from an earlier 2010 Town Hall on the topic of public safety in which residents said public safety was a primarily concern. Early in the fall library campaign, a resident wrote an opinion/editorial for a local newspaper which stated a decided preference for Public Safety over a library contract and spelled out how the $480,000 per year could be used to enhance Public Safety.
The Library Town Meeting is not particularly pleasant viewing. Library supporters express a sense of shame and indignation at having to live in a city without library. One wonders what they would do in a city with no food, a frequent occurrence in 20th Century cities. Then there are the cities ruled by anarchy where the right answers at a road block may mean the difference between life and death. The City of Bloomfield Hills is neither for now.
|City Resident Robert Toohey|