Spending too much on furniture? Library funding at the center of controversy

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- Back on April 9,  the Lafayette City-Parish Council voted to only take $10 million out of the library system’s $26 million surplus budget instead of $18 million proposed by Lafayette City-Mayor Joel Robideaux.

Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux is proposing a library be built on the north side of Lafayette with some of the remaining funds.

 Voters in the parish will choose whether they approve rededication of funds in October.
The new 17,500 square-foot transportation-themed West Regional Library on Old Spanish Trail in Scott is set to open in less than a week.
The total budget was around $8 million. That’s for the building itself and the furniture, which is what Robideaux is criticizing. 
The main controversy from Robideaux is  over the library’s spending, including a red Mustang booth seat, which costs over $10,500 dollars.

On Facebook, Robideaux said, “This type of spending demonstrates disregard for taxpayers’ hard earned dollars and further undermines belief in fiscal responsibility by our current library leadership.”
But according to the Lafayette library director Teresa Elberson, the furniture installed in the new facility was actually under the allotted budget.
“We do that for every library so that wasn’t anything new,” she said.

Robideaux now wants the council to consider his original proposal of $18 out of $26 million in library surplus funds for roads, drainage and bridge work in the parish, instead of the $10 million the council agreed upon a month ago. 
The mayor-president’s proposal prompted an emergency meeting by the library’s board of control Monday.

“If you take $18 million from the library’s coffers, you’re going to cripple it in its ability to expand and to grow, and even providing basic services,” said Andrew Duhon, vice president Lafayette Parish Library Board
As the board’s decision Monday night, Elberson said it will come down to a motion.
“To ask the council to roll forward on the millage and the second one was to hope the scenario we would like to see is the $10 million, the original resolution that passed to keep that in place,” she said.
So basically, the board is choosing a proposal for the following:
– Roll forward an existing mileage in 1010 and approve in their capital budget.
– Move forward with constructing new northeast regional library for 8 million dollars.
– And expand the North Regional Library for $4 million.
But none of this can be decided until after voters head to the polls in October.

The grand opening for the new West Regional Library is set for Monday, May 13.

Robideaux’s proposal to rededicate $18 million instead of $10 million of surplus library funds will go before the council at the meeting at 5:30 p.m. tonight

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