Vote in favor of library tax renewal

The American Press

Early voting for the Nov. 6 election starts today across the state and as some of you make your way to the ballot box this week, the <em>American Press</em> would like to encourage you to vote in favor of the Calcasieu Parish library tax renewal.

The renewal of the 5.99 mill would enable the library to operate for the next 10 years. No increase is being requested for this millage, which was originally approved by voters in 2009.

A homeowner with a property valued at $150,000 would pay $44.93 annually, or $3.74 per month, if the tax is renewed.

"The monthly expense is an equivalent to paying for a small cup of coffee at Starbucks," said Marjorie Harrison, library director.

A homeowner with property valued at $250,000 would pay $104.83 annually, or $8.74 per month.

"The equivalent to purchasing a movie ticket at the local cinema," Harrison said.

The renewal makes up 96 percent of the library system’s funding. Without the passage of the tax, there is no library. There is no substitute funding.

The money generated by the millage pays for operation and maintenance expenses, which include new books and other materials, online resources, public computers, internet, services and programs, staffing, utilities and building maintenance and improvement.

If the tax fails, the library is granted two more attempts at its passage. But in the meantime, the whole system would be affected. There would be reductions in spending, service levels and possible branch closures and operations would be paid out of the Catastrophic &amp; Operating Reserve Fund, which covers operating expenses for three months.

If the tax fails on the last two attempts, all libraries would have to close.

We can’t let this happen.

Libraries promote early literacy and lifelong learning. They are integral to our community, ensuring residents have access to information regardless of age, education, ethnicity, gender, language, income, physical limitations or geographic barriers.

"In short, libraries transform lives and communities," Harrison said.

We agree.

The <em>American Press</em> is urging voters to cast a yes vote for the library tax renewal.””Library Tax Renewal

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