A measure to raise property taxes to provide more money to the struggling New Orleans Public Library system is cruising to an easy victory. With just five precincts left to report, 75 percent of voters have cast ballots in favor of the request.
The library system is seeking a 25-year, 2.5-mill tax that would raise a projected $8.25 million a year for the library system — money that city and library officials say is necessary for the system to continue operating its 14 branches and to reopen one that has been closed for nearly 10 years.
The tax would be in addition to the 3.14 mills now dedicated to the library. That tax expires at the end of 2021.
The new millage would give the system enough money to extend the hours and days of operation at all its branches, public library executive director Charles Brown has said. It also would allow the public libraries to purchase more books, e-books, music and videos for its permanent collection. The tax increase also would support additional outreach efforts and services, like a mobile library and computer classes.
If the measure fails, the library system would not be able to reach those goals and half of its 14 branches might have had to be shut down, Brown said.
The tax hike is supported by Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the New Orleans City Council.