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April 21, 2019 4:08 am

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Local Voters To Decide $4.35 Million Library Building Replacement Request In Aug. 7th Election

On the Tuesday, August 7 primary election ballot, the Tri-Community electorate (the cities of Saugatuck, Douglas and Saugatuck Township) will be asked to approve a $4.35 million bond proposal for the Saugatuck-Douglas District Library to construct a new library building across the street from the existing library.

Library officials say the existing library has numerous problems with it: mold on the lower section, lack of adequate space to host various group events, a very steep staircase to the upper level that is risky for older folks or those with disabilities, an elevator that is not reliable, and so on.

“We don’t have enough space for books and DVDs. For every book we buy, we have to withdraw from the existing collection. And we have one public bathroom for the entire building and not located in an ideal place,” Saugatuck-Douglas District Library Director Ingrid Steen Boyer told The Local Observer.

The 25-year bond request entails a .4271-mill tax increase ($0.42 on each $1,000 of taxable value, meaning a house with a taxable value of $150,000 would contribute $64.07 per year for the next 25 years).

It is projected to raise $4.35 million to build a new, one-story, 9,000-square-foot library building across the street from the existing one on a lot purchased years back by the district thanks to private donor funds. If the ballot measure passes, construction of the new building would begin in the spring of 2019.

In other primary election news, Saugatuck Township will hold the only local election in the Tri-Community, as townships, unlike cities, have partisan elections.

The only candidate is Saugatuck Township Supervisor Chris Roerig, who, in his bid to continue as supervisor, is running unopposed for the GOP nomination for that office.

The township board unanimously selected Roerig for that seat in April to replace the vacancy left by former township supervisor Jon Phillips, who resigned from his four-year term when he moved from the township.

“I am excited about the potential opportunity to serve the wonderful residents of Saugatuck Township again. I feel that my 16 years of township government experience will benefit our community in the future. The future is bright for us in Saugatuck Township,” Roerig told The Local Observer.

Roerig will also not face a challenger in the Nov. 6 general election, as no contender filed before the July 24 deadline.

However, the township electorate, in what is to be a very unique general election, will get to vote to either replace or keep the other four existing township board members in a recall effort.

A citizen-driven group—Saugatuck Township Recall Committee - says numerous unethical, unprofessional and legal issues on the part of their representatives is the catalyst that lead to a successful petition campaign that required the Allegan County Clerk’s office to ask township voters to recall/remove Saugatuck Township Clerk Brad Rudich, Treasurer Lori Babinski and Trustee Douglas Lane and Roy McIlwaine from public office.

In the upcoming general election on Nov. 6, Jon Helmrich will challenge Babinski for treasurer; Bill Wester, a longtime previous board member, will challenge Rudich for clerk; Abby Bigford will challenge McIlwaine for trustee; and Stacey Aldrich will vie for trustee against Lane. All the challengers are running as Democrats.

The area’s electorate will also be asked to vote on three Allegan County-wide renewal proposals.

The 911 operating surcharge is the county’s endeavor to continue the 911 emergency call operating system and cover the costs by means of a charge of up to $3 on the monthly billings of communication service suppliers, beginning on 2020 through 2025.

The resurfacing and reconstruction proposition will, if approved by voters, allow the county for the next six years to continue its 1-mill levy ($0.9916 of each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for primary road resurfacing, prevention and related maintenance and improvements. The monies raised by this millage, if passed, is estimated to generate $4.45 million-plus in the first year it is in effect.

Lastly, the senior citizen service renewal proposal is meant to provide adult day care, home delivered meals, in-home support, personal emergency responses systems, and transportation.

This levy request is 0.493 mills ($0.493 per $1,000 of taxable value) for a period of four years, 2018 through 2021.

Local Voters To Decide $4.35 Million Library Building Replacement Request In Aug. 7th Election

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