Millage FAQs

Answers to some common questions about the upcoming ballot proposal


Why is the library asking for this millage?

The library’s operating millage has not increased since it was approved more than 20 years ago. When the millage was first passed, the library had a staff of 6 and eBooks were still unknown. We now have a staff of 11, and a large collection of digital media ranging from magazines to streaming video. We also have a beautiful facility that is starting to require expensive repairs. Despite careful maintenance over the years, things like the roof, the carpet, and the HVAC system cannot last forever.

How much will it cost me?

The new millage will be 0.25 mill, or 25 cents for every thousand dollars of taxable value. For a homeowner whose house has a market value of $100,000 and a taxable value of $50,000, the cost would be $12.50 per year.

Another library millage, used to repay the construction bonds, is no longer being collected. It averaged 0.366 mill over 21 years.

Market value of home:




Approximate SEV:




Annual cost for 0.25 mill




Monthly cost for 0.25 mill




How will the money be used?

  • To cover major upcoming building expenses: After 20 years, it is in need of costly upkeep, including new boilers, a new roof, and carpeting.
  • To support technology needs: A lot has changed since the library was built, but funding hasn't. This millage will make regular technology upgrades possible and allow the library to offer new services to the community.
  • To continue and expand quality programs: From Baby Time to Family Night to the January Series, the library offers programs for all ages. This proposal will make it possible to expand the offerings to meet community needs

When will it take effect?

If approved by voters in the August 4 election, the new millage will first be collected with the Winter 2020 Tax bills.

How long will this millage be collected?

This would be a ten-year millage, collected from 2020 through 2029.

Don't we already pay a library tax?

Yes. More than 20 years ago, voters approved two millages to support the library.

One was for 0.7 mill to operate the library. This was passed in perpetuity, meaning it will not expire. It has been rolled back to 0.6797 mill in accordance with the Headlee Amendment.

The other was a bond issue to raise the funds for constructing the building. The rate has varied with interest rates, but averaged 0.366 mill over the 21 years it was collected. It is now expired.

The new request is for 0.25 mill. If approved, the total millage collected will be less than one mill at 0.9297 mill.

These are hard financial times for many people. Why are you asking for this money now?

We recognize that this is a difficult time to ask for more money from taxpayers. The decision was made to proceed with the millage request based on several factors, but these are the three main ones:

  1. The building upkeep can’t be put off forever. We are still using the original HVAC equipment beyond its normal lifespan, and the replacement costs for this system alone will wipe out our current fund balance. Some things can wait, of course, but critical infrastructure needs must be addressed in order to maintain the building.
  2. Our operating revenue will already be suffering some big hits because of the pandemic. The current millage will be stretched to the breaking point just for ordinary operating expenses; costly building repairs and maintenance will be beyond our reach.
  3. With the debt service millage retired as of December 2019, this new millage will not cause an increase in taxes compared to what property owners have been paying for the library for the last 20 years. The new millage request is for 0.25 mill, while the average of the debt service millage over the 2 decades was 0.366 mill.

How does our millage rate compare to other library millages in the county?

Residents of the White Lake Community Library district enjoy one of the lowest millage rates in the county. The Muskegon Area District Library is supported by a 1.249 mills levy, and the Hackley Public Library millage rate is 2.4 mills. The total millage for White Lake Community Library with this new millage will still be below one mill at 0.9297 mill.