Leighton Library gets more money than fire dept., roads

Leighton Township officials Thursday evening noted that the local library receives more in tax funding this fiscal year than do the township itself and the fire department and local roads program.

The township’s general fund budget for fiscal year 2017-18 will feature 0.76 mill, the roads and fire department 0.98 mill and the library one full mill. The stats are the result of a quirk in state law and of the Headlee Amendment adopted statewide in 1978.

The library funding was established originally with two mills when the structure was built. Since the building, which now also houses township offices, was completed, the millage was reduced to one mill for operations annually. The library, even with a Headless rollback could levy as much as 1.65 mills each year, but doesn’t.

The one mill that the township operates on by state statute has been rolled back to 0.78 because of Headlee provisions, which prohibit townships, villages and cities from levying the same millage if it amounts to an increase in revenue above the inflation rate.

And road and fire department millage renewals are approved every five years, so their original levies aren’t restored annually.

“Everybody who comes into my office (to pay taxes) complains about it,” said Treasurer Char Troost. “I think we could ask the library to make adjustments.”

She said the township’s many farmers maintain they don’t use the library.

Clerk Mary Lou Niewenhuis said making such a move now would be unfair, saying, “They (library officials) have created their budget for the next year, and it’s based on that one mill.”

Supervisor Steve Deer agreed, saying, “I’m willing to have a conversation, but I’m worried about the timing.”




  • “The townships many farmer maintain they don’t use the library”. How about the far more non-farmer township citizens who do use the library? Many activities, books read, computer use, and more are used for the community. The Leighton Township Library is well run and something we can be proud of. Quality takes dollars. I don’t often use the dirt roads the farmers live on so maybe I should complain when paying my taxes about my dollars being spent on them.

  • Cutting library funds is a good way to limit ideas, creativity and learning.

    Should all of us , who are fortunate enough to have internet access, be depend of corporately owned media (Cable/TV/Radio/Amazon) to be our sole resources?

    Should families with children depend on schools that close their libraries at the end of the school day and are closed throughout the summer and holiday breaks?

    My experience has been communities that cut library funding see it leads to reduced use after the cuts which leads to move for another round of cuts and eventually elimination of the local library because residents can use neighboring libraries.

    Perhaps Leighton Township Library needs to change its hours to match the Township Hall hours so the library users can take an extra few minutes and speak to Mrs Troost. It appears complaining to the township clerk is effective and more library users need to be as vocal as the farmers.

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