On the Ballot

Our Views: In New Orleans, vote “yes” to support libraries

By Staff Editorial

Source: The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate

November 27, 2021

Last year, New Orleans voters soundly rejected a complicated property tax swap that would have cut deeply into the New Orleans Public Library system’s bottom line. We too were skeptical that this vital institution could do more with less.

Now residents can ensure that the city’s libraries have the resources to keep serving the community for the next two decades. We urge them to support the library millage renewal in early voting starting Saturday, or on Election Day Dec. 11.

This year’s proposed standalone measure is much more straightforward than the 2020 package, with which Mayor LaToya Cantrell, citing a surplus that library backers noted was temporary, sought to shift some of the libraries’ money to other public purposes.

The current proposal would allow the city to collect more than it currently does — 4 mills rather than the current 2.58 — but the library system’s spending plan relies upon the lower figure, and we hope the City Council would resist increasing the amount collected. The council initiated the renewal request, and Cantrell supports its passage.

The Bureau of Governmental Research also recommends approval, and says that the renewal would support the current level of services and also allow the system to enact a 10-year plan, devised with widespread community input, that “envisions initiatives to develop children’s creative and thinking skills, expand the library’s role in workforce development and improve access to library resources for all residents.”

We share those goals, and encourage voters to help bring them to fruition.

Also on the Dec. 11 ballot are runoffs in a number of municipal contests. For New Orleans City Council, The Times-Picayune endorses these candidates:

District B: Jay Banks

District C: Freddie King III

District D: Eugene Green

District E: Cyndi Nguyen

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