opinion: Lack of education not responsible for failing library millage
Lon Horwedel | AnnArbor.com
The general theme from library board members and supporters is they did not "educate” us properly. To all the $65 million supporters please allow me to say that I feel I am, and was, educated in the reasoning put forth in favor and against this failed millage and I chose to vote a “decisive no.” I suspect most other voters intelligently voted as well.
In a city that prides itself on being ecologically minded I’m surprised at its willingness to waste tremendous resources with the disposal of structurally sound buildings.
One of the main reasons for library replacement involves the maintenance of the infrastructure and the lack of funding to perform “needed” upgrades.
Instead of providing funding and planning for repairs, maintenance, and upgrades, it is more preferable for millage supporters to enter into long-term debt for “brand new shiny.” I think the electorate has sent a decisive message with our vote that there is a need to educate leadership on the difference between “wants and needs.”
I will agree leadership did not provide enough “education” regarding the specific structuring of that $65 million “long-term debt.” I suspect most supporters do not understand the fiscal realities of the actual financing or are even familiar with terms like “municipal interest rate swap” that has forced cities like Stockton, Calif., into bankruptcy.
Stockton government leaders admit they just did not understand the ramifications of the “long-term debt,” to which they readily committed their electorate in their quest to “improve” the city. So rather than analyze and strategize how to waterboard approval of another millage for a new library, I would suggest redirecting those energies into best serving the community with our existing resources.
Frank Dalimonte Ann Arbor