Sanilac District Library
Serving our community since 1936

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How are public libraries funded?

Public libraries are not subsidized by the federal or state government. Library collections of audio books, books in print, magazines and movies are not provided by publishers free of charge. Libraries do not receive free or reduced utility services. Libraries are required by law to have paid staff. Public libraries rely on local millages or appropriations from city, county, township or village government for operating revenue.

Sanilac District Library Funding Sources

Sanilac DISTRICT Library Millage

The State of Michigan requires that a public library receive at least 3/10ths of a mill in local support, the minimum amount required to open the doors to the public. This amountshould not be interpreted as the total needed to provide the services necessary to our communities.

An operating millage of 0.625 mills was originally approved by voters in June 1999 and renewed in 2009 to  provide a  stable source of income. Prior to that, SDL was not able to provide quality library services and could not meet the requests desired by our patrons. Since the millage was approved, every goal has been accomplished. Local dollars are used locally. The story, Stone Soup, is a good example of how an entire community is fed when everyone contributes. 

In 2012, the district library millage provided $97,373.04. The Headlee Amendment may reduce the amount of tax received. The Port Sanilac DDA captures a portion of the millage per state law. The library has no control over this. The millage has declined in the past few years due to reduced property values and population. The District Library Millage supplies approximately 58% of the library's income.

How much does this really cost taxpayers?

The cost to property owners in SDL's legal service area is 62 and ½ cents for every $1,000 in taxable value. For example, the district library tax for property with a taxable value of  $50,000 would be $31.25 a year ($2.61 a month or 60¢ a week or 9¢ per day).

Divide the cost by the number of people who live in your household. New adult fiction books cost between $25 - $38. The cost to most property owners is about the cost of one book.

Check out the Investment Calculator developed by the Library of Michigan. For every $1 you invest in your library, you receive this much value in return. The more you visit your library, the more benefit you receive. 

Sanilac COUNTY Library Millage

2/10ths of a mill has been levied since 1984 and is distributed to the libraries that serve Sanilac County residents. The purpose of this millage is to supplement declining revenue and offset the rising costs of operating expenses. The money is divided per capita to the eight Sanilac County libraries. Voters approved a millage renewal in 2012. Sanilac District Library received. $34,987.28 in 2012. This millage may also be affected by the Headlee Amendment. The  millage has declined in the past few years due to reduced property values and population. The county library millage provides approximately 21% of Sanilac District Library’s revenue, which is the equivalent of the entire book and materials budget.

 Penal Fines

Penal Fines are collected within each county in Michigan for violations of state penal laws, such as speeding. Penal fines are distributed per capita to the libraries within each county. The amount of the fine is determined at the discretion of the district court judge. Local government ordinances have diverted these funds away from libraries and higher court costs have caused a decline in penal fines. $15,867.14 was received in 2012. ($18,128.15 was received in 2011 and $19,179.69 in 2010). Penal fines accounted for 0.09% of the library's income in 2012.

 State Aid

In order to qualify for State Aid, libraries must receive at least 3/10ths of a mill in local support. Libraries must also complete a list of minimum requirements for open hours and staff.

Half of State Aid is required by law to be paid to a library cooperative as membership dues. Public Act 89 states that libraries should receive $1.50 per capita. State Aid was only fully funded once in 1998 and has decreased ever since. $1,959.32 was received in 2012. In 2007, Sanilac District Library received $3,592.60, which equals 79¢ per capita.  $2,967.22 was received in 2008, 66¢ per capita. $1,793.00 was received in 2010, 39¢ per capita. Libraries must rely on local  funding to stay in operation. State Aid provided .01% of SDL's revenue.

Other Funding Sources 

In 2012, SDL received $2,495.07 in donations and memorials, $2,717.40 in eRate refunds,  $2,931.46 in overdue fines, $5,265.60 in movie rental fees, $898.45 copy fees, $664 for FAXing, and $495.75 to replace or damaged materials.  

The combination of all funding sources allows Sanilac District Library to provide the services that our patrons have requested: audio books, books in print for every age and reading level,  computers, early childhood programs, extended open hours, Interlibrary Loan, Internet access, magazines, MelCat delivery, movies, newspapers,  programs of special interest and qualified staff to help you find the information you need in a clean, well organized environment. 

Q & A about Sanilac District Library

 Who owns Sanilac District Library?

Sanilac District Library belongs to every person who owns property in Sanilac Township and the Carsonville-Port Sanilac School District. The library is held in trust for all residents by the Sanilac District Library Board.

Who does the library serve?

Sanilac District Library's legal service area is Sanilac Township and the Carsonville-Port Sanilac School District. The library contracts with Forester Township to provide service to 25% of their residents. Sanilac District Library also provides service to any U. S. citizen with appropriate identification. Sanilac District Library serves people outside of our district who do not pay the local millage in the hope that our patrons may visit other libraries and receive service. Sanilac District Library has always had an 'open door' policy and was a charter member of MichiCard and  participates in the MelCat Visiting Patron Program. 

What is taxable value?

Check your winter tax bill to find the taxable value of your property. Taxable value is less than the market value or amount that you would sell your property for and  about half of the SEV (State Equalized Value).

How are senior citizens and low income households affected by the library millage?

  •  Taxpayers with household incomes of $82,650 or less may qualify to file for the Homestead Credit on their MI Income tax to substantially lower their actual costs. 
  •  Senior citizens may qualify for normal federal tax deductions and MI Homestead Property Tax Credit rebates.
  •  Senior citizens may qualify for 100% rebate on property taxes up to $1,200. If you qualify for the Homestead Property Tax deduction on the Michigan Income Tax form, the money you pay for the library millage will be returned to you from the state in your MI Income Tax refund.

How is the millage money used?

Every penny collected  from the millage continues to be used to finance Sanilac District Library’s operating expenses for  materials, programs, technology and the trained personnel needed to provide quality library service to our community in a well maintained facility.  

How much does it cost to operate SDL?

Capital Outlay: $8,256.65 was spent for new computers, equipment, furniture, building maintenance and improvements. ($4,500 of this was provided Universal Service Fund e-Rate)

Materials: $26,015.38 provided the purchase of audio books, books in print, magazines and movies.

Operating: $126,497.18 was spent in 2012 for an audit, building maintenance, continuing education for staff, dues to White Pine Library Cooperative, insurance, lawn service, library supplies, office supplies, snow removal, staff wages and utilities.

Services: $10,899.61 was used for programs, computer maintenance, internet access and technology expenses.

Sanilac District Library was open 301 days in 2012. It cost SDL $570.28 per day just to open the doors, $19.50 per day to provide and maintain 12 public access computers with high speed Internet access, $86.42 per day to supply new audio books, books in print, magazines and movies. The total value of the creativity, enjoyment, enrichment, history, information, knowledge and wisdom contained in your library is priceless.

Does SDL have a reserved fund balance or hidden assets?

SDL uses the income received by the millage every year to operate, maintain the facility and provide materials, programs and services to our community.

A certificate of deposit for $2,000 is purchased annually and designated as an Emergency/Maintenance Fund. The Library Board plans to save $40,000 over a period of 20 years so that money is available to repair or replace the air conditioner, carpet, furnace, parking lot and roof as needed. The current balance is $27,874.28 plus interest. 

SDL has no other assets besides the facility and its contents. Check out the most current Audit Report filed with the Michigan Department of Treasury.