Portage Lake District Library face millage in Tuesday’s election

HOUGHTON — Voters in the City of Houghton and Portage Township will take vote tomorrow to continue supporting their local library. The proposal would renew an existing mill property tax that has sustained the library for the past 20 years.

Residents in the city of Houghton and Portage Township will take to the polls tomorrow and decide the fate of the the Portage District Library. Voters will be asked to continue paying what they currently are to support the library, its functions and its involvement in the community.

“That mileage levy accounts for over 85% of our annual revenue. It makes every thing we do at the library possible. And there’s no substitute funding for that revenue so without that… ultimately the library would have to close,” said the library’s Director Dillon Geshel.

It’s emphasized to voters that the millage does not increase taxes, it simply continues what homeowners are already paying, an average of $5 to $8 a month per household, which would allow the library to remain in operation over the next seven years when the next millage would be up for vote again.

Geshel said “If the millage were not to pass and a millage could not be set at the end of the day. The library would be forced to close, but just looking at the things that would no longer be possible, from our books and materials, to our programs, you know we’re doing two to three different children’s story time events every week, panel discussions on local issues, movie nights, hundreds of different community programs every year that the library makes possible.”

Last year, the Chassell Library voted to withdraw from the district putting a financial strain on the library, but Geshel says despite that strain, the library would be able to pull through, if tomorrow’s voters provide a positive result.