East Baton Rouge Parish voters have several tax renewals to consider for the Oct. 24 election, and the proposals deal with basic quality of life issues for the community: education, library service and downtown development. We believe these property tax renewals deserve support.
East Baton Rouge Parish Library millage: Yes.
By any objective measure, including hours of service, circulation, and breadth and quality of facilities, Baton Rouge’s public library is the best in the state and one of the best in the South.
Voters approved a 10-year, 11.1-mills tax in 1995 and again in 2005, giving the system the resources it needed to build impressive new branch buildings, then a striking new Main Library. Renewing this tax will allow library officials to continue this important work. The system’s operations are almost completely funded by this tax, so a “no” vote would place the library’s excellent services and facilities in jeopardy. Even in an age of digital information, physical libraries still play a big role in broadening and sustaining literacy, a goal that Baton Rouge must embrace to strengthen its economy and civic engagement. We urge voters to support the library tax renewal.
EBR Schools (Consolidated School District No. 1) Proposition 1: I CARE program: Yes.
EBR Schools (Consolidated School District No. 1) Proposition 2: Operations and Maintenance: Yes.
EBR Schools (Consolidated School District No. 1) Proposition 3: Salaries and Benefits: Yes.
The East Baton Rouge Parish public school system has three proposed property tax renewals on the Oct. 24 ballot. These are tax renewals, not increases. The proposals would extend each tax another 10 years. Proposition 1 seeks to renew a 0.72-mill tax that would generate approximately $2.5 million a year for the school system’s I CARE program, which offers anti-drug education and crisis counseling for youngsters. Though based in the public school system, I CARE also makes many of its services available to private and parochial schools that want them. The program’s counseling team is an invaluable resource if crisis strikes — something that, sadly, school officials everywhere must prepare for these days. I CARE has become a model for other school systems across the country, and it deserves continued taxpayer support.
Proposition 2 would renew a 1.04-mills tax generating about $3.5 million a year for operations and maintenance of the school system. Proposition 3 would renew a 5.99-mills tax generating about $20.5 million annually for salaries and benefits of the system’s teachers, principals and other employees.
Everyone has a stake in quality public schools in Baton Rouge — even the many of us who don’t have a child in public schools here. We recommend a “yes” vote on these tax renewals.
Downtown Development District millage: Yes.
Only voters in the downtown area vote for this millage paid by those residents and business owners. The renewal of a 10-mill tax for five years represents another vote of confidence in the economic and social resurgence of the area. The district is slightly expanded from its old boundaries, with the hope that the renaissance in downtown will spread further into the core of the city.