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Library Millage Renewal FAQs

Library Millage Renewal

We have a library millage RENEWAL on the Saturday, April 28th ballot. Here is the wording of the proposition:

Library Tax Renewal
Shall the Parish of Lafayette, State of Louisiana (the “Parish”), continue to levy a 1.61 mills tax on all the property subject to taxation in the Parish (an estimated $3,665,902.11 reasonably expected at this time to be collected from the levy of the tax for an entire year), for a period of ten (10) years, beginning with the year 2019 and ending with the year 2028, for the purposes of operating, maintaining and improving the Parish Library?

Who votes on this millage?

All registered voters in Lafayette Parish – including those who live in Lafayette, Scott, Duson, Carencro, Youngsville, and Broussard, as well as Milton and other unincorporated parts of the Parish – can vote on this millage.

Is it a new tax?

No, it is a renewal of an existing millage. It is 1.61 mills, which is the same rate last approved by voters in 2008. The renewal of the millage comes before the voters every 10 years. In the tax year 2017, this millage was actually assessed at 1.48 mills.

Didn’t we just vote on a millage?

Yes. Funds to operate the library system come from three separate millages that come up for renewal every 10 years at different times. We had a successful millage renewal in 2012 (2.00 mills) and 2016 (2.91 mills). This year the 1.61 mills is up for another 10-year renewal (2019-2028). 98% of library funding comes from these three millages, combined with interest and the library’s portion of state revenue sharing. The other 2% of our budget comes from fines, donations, Xerox and printing revenues.

Can it be used for other things? 

No, the money is dedicated to the Library and must be used to construct, improve, maintain and operate public libraries in Lafayette Parish.

What does the Library do with the money?

The money generated by these millages pays for our operation and maintenance expenses which include utilities, Internet, staffing, new books and materials, electronic resources, computers and building maintenance. Some funds go into our annual capital budget to fund big dollar projects such as construction, maintenance and repairs and purchases of new furniture and equipment. (This year we are funding a four million dollar South Regional expansion project and buying a new Bookmobile). Some funds are saved for future needs. With these collective taxpayer dollars, we provide books, information, Internet and computer access and training, new technologies in our Makerspaces, meeting and study spaces and programs at nine locations throughout the parish.

Do we really need libraries in the age of e-books and technology?

Library staff is available seven days a week to assist you in any way we can. Helping patrons find accurate and current information, providing fun and educational programs for all ages and assisting our patrons one-on-one with new technology is what we are all about.

Over 1.7 million items are checked out each year from the Lafayette Public Library System.  89% of those items are physical books, DVDs, CDs and magazines checked out from one of our library buildings. The other 11% is from e-book, e-audiobook and e-magazine downloads.

More than 300 people a day come in to use one of our library computers to help find jobs, complete applications, check email, search for information, use social media or learn new computer skills. Another 400 people a day connect to our Wi-Fi service with their own laptops, tablets or smartphones. Our attendance at over 2,800 library programs and events reached over 65,000 last year, and our public meetings and study rooms were used over 31,000 times during that same time period. All told, nearly 2,800 people a day visit a library in Lafayette Parish.

Why does the Library have a Fund Balance?

The Library has a fund balance, mostly the result of our building program taking longer to finish than anticipated. Any time the Library spends less in operations than budgeted for the year, those dedicated millage funds go back into the Library’s fund balance to use in the future. About half of our fund balance is reserved for funded projects in past years’ capital budgets that are not finished and paid for. This includes funds for constructing and furnishing West Regional Library; installing new self-checkout and security systems (RFID) at most locations; replacing older furniture and equipment and doing major maintenance and improvements to buildings and property. The Library Board’s ten-year plan for the unreserved portion of the fund balance includes funding the expansion of North Regional and East Regional and adding services as Lafayette Parish grows. Fund balance reserves allow us to do this without ever asking for additional sources of revenue.