opinion: Economy cannot support the costs of approving library bond proposal
I was on the Library Board from 2000 to 2008. The proposed replacement library is not worth the cost. Please join me in voting “no” on the library bond.
The present board wants to change the central mission of the downtown library from providing books, materials, and Internet access to providing community meeting places. This change would only benefit a fraction of the library’s patrons. Only a relative handful of meetings held at the library overflow its facilities. There is certainly no need for the 400-seat auditorium that is the centerpiece of the proposed new library.
The library needs to borrow $65 million to construct the new library and provide for temporary facilities during the two years or so that it would take to demolish the present building and construct a new one. The taxpayers would repay this amount over 30 years. The total cost to taxpayers would be about $130 million, including interest.
We should weigh this large cost against the marginal benefits the new building would bring to comparatively few people.
The Library Board wisely canceled the replacement of the downtown library in 2008 because of the bad economy. The local economy is still in bad shape. About one-quarter of the students in the Ann Arbor Public School District (essentially the same as the library district) still are entitled to free or reduced-price lunches. So the Ann Arbor area is not yet prosperous enough to pay for such an expensive new library.
Please vote “no” on Nov. 6.