New Orleans’ libraries can look forward to a cash infusion after voters agreed Saturday (May 2) to raise property taxes to support the ailing public system.
Voters were asked to consider providing the library system with as much as $8.2 million a year starting in January, in addition to the current 3.14-mill, $8.7 million annual property tax. The new money was being sought to help the library close a $3 million budget gap. Library leaders have said the shortfall would cause severe cutbacks in hours of operation or even the closing of up to half the city’s 14 branches.
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Library system executive director Charles Brown also thanked voters for their support late Saturday.
“I would like to recognize the wisdom and support of the voters and residents of New Orleans, along with the hundreds of volunteers who helped throughout this campaign,” he said in a statement.
“Throughout the campaign I was reminded by citizens I met that our librarians and staff members are our biggest asset. They couldn’t even suggest how to vote on this measure. Instead, they continued to do their incredible work that connects so many of our users with the books and materials they need each and every day. I want them to know how much they are appreciated.”