Troy, Bloomfield Hills to explore options, possibly in court
Free Press Staff Writer

The future of the Troy Public Library is “as clear as mud,” the city’s lawyer said Wednesday, after voters defeated four millage proposals designed to create and fund an independent library board.

And in Bloomfield Hills, voters sent a resounding “no” on Tuesday to a six-year, 0.617-mill library levy, with 61% of voters shooting down the measure, 1,342-842. Supporters sought to resume a lending contract with Bloomfield Township’s library or strike up a new deal with the library in Birmingham.

The Troy measure is likely to become a topic of Monday’s City Council meeting, where Mayor Louise Schilling is expected to bring up the possible censure of Councilman Martin Howrylak over his letter advocating the measures’ defeat.

Troy’s Proposal 1, the 10-year, 0.9885-millage, failed by 689 votes, 15,590-14,901, with 51% voting against it. The three other millage proposals failed by more than 80% of the vote each.

The library is scheduled to close July 1, after the City Council slashed funding and library hours this year and all funding by June 30.

Members of Troy Citizens United, which advocated four “no” votes, have said they’ll soon present petitions to force the city to keep funding a pared-down library. If the council refuses to consider the option, the group hopes to get the issue on the ballot.

“We can have a library with no new taxes, and that’s what the petition drive is doing,” group spokeswoman Deborah DeBacker said.

City attorney Lori Bluhm said that option — one of several that make the library’s future uncertain — could end up in a lawsuit.

“Under state law, the voters get to vote only if it’s a legislative matter, not an administrative matter,” Bluhm said Wednesday. “And because it will very likely be directly related to the budget process, it is an administrative matter, not a legislative matter.”

In 2005, residents passed a charter amendment that gives council the option to place the issue on the ballot for a non-binding advisory vote, Bluhm said.

Schilling said she’s disappointed about Proposal 1’s loss, and was not optimistic Wednesday that the council would reconsider funding the library.

“Council’s already made a decision with regards to budgetary funds,” she said. “We’ve already looked very carefully at all of the funds.”