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Ottawa County sends $820,000 to area libraries

• Jul 31, 2016 at 11:00 AM

Ottawa County Treasurer Bradley Slagh is sending out $820,766.85 in checks to nine local libraries from fines collected by Ottawa County’s courts.

The Michigan State Constitution of 1963 requires that all penalties collected for violations of state penal laws be divided into court costs, statutory fees and penal fees. The penal fines are placed in a library fund to be used for the support of public libraries and a county law library.

“In recent years the total has ranged from $700,000 to over $1,020,000, depending on the amount of citations written using the state penal code and the fines levied by the court,” Slagh said. “This year the total fines collected and disbursed are down almost $200,000 from last year’s high water mark of $1,020,000.”

Spring Lake District Library received $56,812.54, while Loutit District Library in Grand Haven received $110,575.98.

“Penal fines are an important part of library funding for Spring Lake District Library and other public libraries in Michigan,” Claire Sheridan, director of the Spring Lake District Library, said. “The Spring Lake District Library uses the funds to purchase materials; to fund programming, such as the recent history and author presentations; and as a supplement to the budget.”

The amount of money distributed is based on the population of the communities the libraries serve. Herrick District Library in Holland received the most money at $257,426.71.

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