[Michlib-l] City library founded by City Charter - Definition of "capital improvement" vs. regular maintenance

Stephanie knownformylaugh at gmail.com
Fri Apr 10 10:59:27 EDT 2015

Hello everyone --

Our library was established as a City library founded by City Charter.  I
would like to hear from similar libraries about:

   -  How your City handles major building expenditures -- capital
   improvement expenditures.
   -  Do you have that defined in writing anywhere?  If so, would you be
   willing to share that?
   - Does your City assess the full millage that can be assessed?  Does a
   portion of that get set aside in a capital improvement fund every year?

A little background about our situation.  In the past we've consistently
hit a brick wall with major building expenditures, even though the City
owns the building, due to this wording in the state law regarding our type
of library:

*Act 164 of 1877*

*397.205 Governing board; president; officers; powers and duties; library
fund; expenditures; establishment and maintenance of public library and
reading room.*

Sec. 5.

The governing board of a library shall, immediately after appointment, meet
and organize, by the election of 1 member as president, and by the election
of other officers as necessary. The governing board shall make and adopt
bylaws, rules, and regulations for its own guidance and for the government
of the library and reading room, consistent with this act. The governing
board has exclusive control of the expenditure of all money collected to
the credit of the library fund, the construction of any library building,
and the supervision, care, and custody of the grounds, rooms, or buildings
constructed, leased, or set apart for that purpose. All money received for
the library shall be deposited in the treasury of the city to the credit of
the library fund, shall be kept separate and apart from other money of the
city, and drawn upon by the proper officers of the city upon the properly
authenticated vouchers of the library board. The governing board may
purchase or lease grounds and occupy, lease, or erect an appropriate
building or buildings for the use of the library; has the power to appoint
a suitable librarian and necessary assistants and fix their compensation;
and remove appointees. The governing board shall carry out the spirit and
intent of this act in establishing and maintaining a public library and
reading room.

*History:* 1877, Act 164, Eff. Aug. 21, 1877 ;-- How. 5179 ;-- CL 1897,
3453 ;-- CL 1915, 3435 ;-- CL 1929, 8063 ;-- CL 1948, 397.205 ;-- Am. 2014,
Act 131, Imd. Eff. May 27, 2014"

*The City has also, at some time in the past, chosen to not assess the full
millage rate (taking Headlee rollbacks into account) that they could assess
for library services.  We do have a significant amount in our operating
budget set aside for regular building maintenance.  But we've been facing,
over the last few years, major capital improvement expenditures that aren't
even close to being covered by our operating budget.  Again, the resistance
we keep encountering is due to the wording noted above even though the
Board doesn't own the building or the grounds... the City does. *

*Any insight any of you can provide would be greatly appreciated.  *

Thank you,

Stephanie Masin, Director
Maud Preston Palenske Memorial Library
500 Market St.
St. Joseph, MI  49085
269-983-7167 (phone)
269-983-5804 (fax)
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