Robideaux wants to rededicate surplus library funds to road & drainage projects

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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – Lafayette Mayor-Presdietn Joel Robideaux and some City-Parish Councilmembers, are looking to reappropriate roughly $18 million in surplus library funds, to pay for road and drainage projects.
 
The Lafayette Public Library’s annual operating budget is more than $12 dollars.
 
The current library budget is balanced with revenue from 3 property taxes.
However, 1 of the property taxes was not renewed by voters in 2018, and it has expired.
The library faces a shortfall of $3.2 million, as they plan for next year’s budget.
That spending plan is expected to reflect deficit operations. 
 
Robideaux says his administration has gone through all of the surplus balances for the various City and Parish departments in Lafayette, and he feels like the library has a much larger surplus than needed.
 
“That money is certainly worth looking at, as it relates to spending it on roads and drainage,” said Mayor-President Robideaux.
 
He’s looking for the City-Parish COuncil to vote on redidcating about $18 of the $26 million in the library’s surplus budget.
 
“If there’s surplus money, to me it makes sense to go back to the taxpayers whose money it is to say, ‘Do you want to leave it in the savings account, or do you want to put it on roads and bridges? It’s your money, where do you (taxpayers) want to spend it,'” said Robideaux.
 
If passed, it would leave the library with a roughly $8 million fund balance savings account.
District 1 Councilmember Kevin Naquin says this isn’t an attack on the library.
 
“It’s trying to be smart. As elected officials, as a government, where can we best utilize funds that might be sitting there not being used, or might have too much in fund balance,” he said.
 
News 10 went ot the Main Lafayette Public Library on West Congress to speak to some regulars, about what the thought about the posisble rededication of funds.

“I think the roads around here are okay, but as far as drainage I’m not really sure. But I don’t think those funds should be taken out of the library,” said Blisse Bihm, who frequents the library.
 
“I believe the city should pay for it because as I said, I believe it’s more of their responsibility then having to take it from the library,” said Michael Davis, who also frequents the library.
 
“That money could be used to get better computers you know, or remodel the library, make sure it’s a safe environment,” said Mace Copeland, another person who visits the library often.
 
“If the council agrees, then we would go to the voters to see if they agree, if we should rededicate some portion of that money,” said Robideaux.
 
Library Director Teresa Elberson sent News 10 a statement that reads: “We are still crunching figures. With a loss of $3.2 million from the failed mileage that will impact next year’s budget, we were counting on having adequate fund balance to use, which is now at risk.”
 
News 10 also asked Mayor-President Robideaux if this move had anything to do with his opposition of ‘Drag Queen Story Time,’ he told us no, and that his administration has been working to make this happen for months now.
 
If approved by the City-Parish Council at next Tuesday’s meeting, the rededication would go before voters this May.

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