In response to the August 18, 2021, article (“Lake Orion officials respond to The Review’s questions about attorney bills, public hearing” in the Lake Orion Review, the Orion Township Public Library Board wishes to provide some clarification.
The Orion Township Public Library is an independent governing body with its own elected board and its own millage funding its operations.
The Charter Township of Orion in no way owns, manages, or funds library operations.
The library director sent the village / DDA a letter dated Dec. 23, 2019 stating the library’s decision to withdraw from DDA funding.
The village/DDA acknowledged the libraries Dec. 23, 2019 letter with a response from the Village / DDA attorney in letters dated Jan. 7, 2020 and Jan. 20, 2020.
The library attorney replied on Jan. 24, 2020 citing the complete current statute stating the library could legally withdraw from the DDA capture of library funds.
The Oakland County Treasurer’s Department followed the direction of the Orion Township Public Library Board and ceased the capture of Library funds for the DDA.
Maryanne Thorndycraft, President
Orion Township Public Library Board
Editor’s Note: Part of the village’s response in the Aug. 18 issue included the following statements about the library millage:
In January 2021 the Township Supervisor and Township Board allowed the Orion Library to opt out of the DDA capture that resulted in a loss of $45,000 annually to the Downtown Development Authority. The Township Supervisor failed to report such action to the Village or at any DDA Board meeting.
Why was the Supervisor hiding/not disclosing/sharing this with the DDA Board that he sits on and took an Oath of Office of fiduciary responsibility?
This is an action for the case of incompatible office and conflict of interest since the funds were taken away from the Village Downtown Development Authority (DDA) state law capture and allowed to remain with the Township Library. The Village was not notified of this intent and did not become aware of the Library taxes not being captured for the DDA until April 2021 when the annual tax settlement takes place. The Township collects all property taxes and distributes the funds to the various taxing jurisdictions including the school, community college, library, county, Village and DDA. The DDA funds are not remitted until the tax settlement in April, while the other jurisdiction funds are remitted at least monthly.
Previous Township action stripped the DDA of Township Library DDA fund capture. Though specifically allowed by statute, it is not allowed if there is debt. The Village had DDA debt, but has chosen not to challenge the Township on this issue through costly litigation.