Iberia Parish Library faces funding cuts - KLFY News 10

Iberia Parish Library faces funding cuts

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In Iberia Parish, library officials are upset over a proposal that could remove some of their funding.

A voter-approved 6-mil property tax is reserved for library funding. However, the library system only uses 4.5 mil or 2.4 million dollars annually. Iberia Parish Councilman David Ditch proposed using the remaining 1.5 mil to supports parish projects of the Levee, Hurricane and Conservation District.

Kitty Courts, a library board member said, "If our funds are cut, it will affect the main library as well as all eight branches and it could be very possible that all the branches would close and only the main branch would be open."

This could result in a loss of services, according to Public Relations Director Thomas Gotte.

"We serve as a community staple, I think, as far as our meeting rooms different organizations meet here. We also help people with services like food stamps, we have people who apply for jobs," Gotte said.

Iberia Parish Councilman, Ricky Gonsoulin said he and the council are getting accused of tampering with library funding.

"It's a misconception that it's the library versus the levee system. It's just using the excess funding that the millage generates from our very parish to use for the levee," he began. "It is only my opinion that if we do not get this levee system, we may not have a future for this parish."

The proposal, according to Gonsoulin, is just that; a starting point, an idea that is up for debate and public input. Gotte's input is to re-introduce an earlier voter-rejected 5-mil property tax.

"They need to educate people on the importance of the levee and they need to go ahead and get that tax passed on their own and not on the backs of other entities," Gotte said.

Gonsoulin agrees that it is a good idea to try to get the tax approved once again, but believes Ditch's proposal is fiscally responsible.

"The people are already being taxed, so why not use that money to try to get matching funding now and at least start the levee project."

Voter approval would be needed before any changes could be applied. A public hearing is scheduled for September 11, at 6pm on the 4th floor of the Iberia Parish Courthouse.

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