Taylor Owens Staff Writer
After rejecting a 10-year renewal of the Hastings Public Library millage in August 2018, Hastings Township passed the millage Tuesday by 73 votes. The unofficial results were 393 to 320.
“I'm ecstatic,” Hasting Public Library Director Peggy Hemerling said. “We are very grateful that the voters turned out and chose to retain their library services.
“We will do everything we can do to meet their needs and be the library that supports our community.”
If Hastings Township had voted the 1.6-mill renewal down a second time, the library would have lost $120,000 from its annual budget, which would have led to cuts in staff, programs and hours of operation.
A campaign committee, “Yes for Hastings Library,” formed late last year. With donations from residents and the Friends of the Hastings Public Library, it organized a get-out-the-vote initiative. Volunteers went door to door, posted campaign signs and educated people on how libraries are funded and what would happen if the millage failed.
Once Hastings Township residents realized the failure of the millage would mean a loss in services for them, they wanted to vote for the millage, Hemerling said.
The difference between that 13-vote loss and Tuesday's 73-vote win proved their efforts were successful, Hemerling said.
Library services will remain unaffected, since the consequences for patrons due to the initial millage failure would not have gone into effect until this summer.
But, as of Jan. 1, Hastings Township lost its two seats on the Hastings Public Library Board. Now, with the millage approved, those seats will be restored in July.