LOUISIANA – Nothing was decided, but some members of the board of Louisiana Public Library expressed skepticism about the prospect of asking the public to consider an increased tax levy at their Monday, Feb. 10 meeting.
At the board’s January meeting, Mayor Marvin Brown asked the board to consider a property tax increase to replace the subsidy the city currently gives the library out of the city’s general revenue. Brown pointed to the city’s difficult financial position, which has prompted the city to put two tax propositions on the April ballot on its own account.
The library is currently supported by a 10 cent property tax on every $100 of assessed value in the city limits. A seven cent increase would replace the city subsidy, the city has calculated.
At February’s meeting, board members tabled the issue but expressed skepticism about the prospects of the proposal if they decided to present it to the voters.
“I don’t want to have an election to see if its going to pass or not, because chances are its going to fail,” Board President Danette DeBourge said.
DeBourge said she felt the contributions of the library board to the upkeep for the city-owned library building should be taken into account when weighing the city’s support for the library.
The board discussed whether there was any way to bring in more revenue through other means, through higher fees or other charges. Unlike some other libraries in the area, Louisiana does not charge for when issuing library cards for people who live outside the city limits.
DeBourge said she did not want to put obstacles in the way of people getting books, but said she was interested in ways the library could “increase [revenue] but not gouge people."
“That’s kind of the way its always been. It’s a free library. We want to encourage people. But I don’t want to go to raise the library tax, because that just turns people off,” DeBourge said.