The diverse group of parents, librarians and concerned citizens that make up the Save Our Libraries coalition got a boost this week when the Bureau of Governmental Research added their voice to those opposing Proposition 2 which is on the Dec. 5 ballot.
In their analysis of the ballot proposition, the BGR said the Cantrell administration had failed to give voters “adequate information for decision making on taxes that would run for 20 years.” BGR also said that Proposition 2 lacked a strategic plan or a clear roadmap for right-sizing the library’s budget before reserves run out.
The library’s current millage dedication was approved by the voters in 2015 under Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Mayor LaToya Cantrell is asking voters to approve a 40% cut — at least $6.5 million in 2021 — from the library’s budget, which she would rededicate to funding additional early education slots at day-care centers in the community. It would be impossible to make such deep cuts from the library’s budget without significantly eliminating some staff and services as well as closing branches. According to SOL researchers, many of the branches like Mid-City are old, outdated or not on city-owned property. They could be closed as a way to save rent and maintenance costs.