Letter: Library official says tax renewal needed to continue service
As the chairperson for the St. Mary Parish Library Board of Control, I believe it is very important that our patrons understand the upcoming tax election. On Saturday, Aug. 15, voters in St. Mary Parish, excluding Morgan City, will be asked to vote on a proposition that will renew the existing 5.72 mills currently being collected to support our libraries. This tax in the funding source for all operations, supplies, maintenance and improvements for all seven of our existing library facilities. It is extremely important for voters to understand that this is a renewal and not an increase nor a new tax. The funds collected are used for everyday operations and used to maintain the library as well as make it possible for the Board of Control to continue to make improvements to the existing buildings and facilities that are used by patrons.
In 1981, voters originally elected to fund this tax. Since that time, the tax has been renewed most recently in 2010. The current renewal is on the ballot for another 10-year term, which would be set to expire in 2030. Since the original tax was placed on the ballot, the St. Mary Parish Library system has added four new libraries and has completed a major renovation project at the Main Library and headquarters in Franklin. Currently, we are working on a renovation/expansion project at the Berwick Branch Library and have plans to assess and evaluate the Centerville Branch, and make interior improvements as necessary in the Amelia, Bayou Vista and West End locations.
I understand this has been a very challenging year for all our patrons. Our staff has been challenged through all of this just as much as our patrons, but they have continued the services as they have been allowed and will continue to provide the services that you have come to expect from them as long as they have funding. Without the positive vote of the community in support of this renewal, we will not be able to continue the services you have come to expect from us, nor will we be able to upgrade and/or renovate the facilities to match the changing times. I humbly ask you vote yes for the St. Mary Parish Library Maintenance and Operational renewal.
Cherie Hidalgo Laiche
St. Mary Parish Library
Board of Control chairperson