St. Landry

Feb 10, 2014 7:20 PM by Akeam Ashford

Eunice Leaders Opposed To Parishwide Library Tax

Some city leaders in Eunice are speaking out against a plan to create a unified library system in St. Landry Parish.

The proposal would raise $3 million for St. Landry parish libraries. It would come in the form of a 5.5-mill parishwide property tax.

It's a tax commonly seen in other parishes in the state. In fact, St. Landry is the only parish out of 64 without a unified system.

Currently, the city of Eunice gives its library $154,000 a year from the city's general fund. Eunice Economic Development Committee Chairman Don Reber says that's enough.

"We're not against a library. We're not against a library system. We're against the first thing out of the box for anything for a library system is to have an additional tax," Reber said.

Speaking on behalf of Eunice Mayor Claude Moody, he said a new tax is out of the question.

"We've already got that in place, so the mayor doesn't want to ask the citizens of Eunice to put more money on top of that to support a library system for the rest of St. Landry Parish," Reber said.

Ginger LeCompte is co-chairwoman of the St. Landry Parish Library Coalition, she said better libraries could be the answer to many problems, in a parish with a below average graduation rate.

According to the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), St. Landry parish has a 64.8 percent graduation rate compared to 72.3 percent across the state.

"As a citizen, and as a voter, you have to ask if this tax will give you a good return on our investment, and I would say yes," LeCompte said.

The Library Coalition's goal is to put this issue before the voters. However, it was tabled at last week's parish-council meeting. The earliest it could happen now is November.

Sunset, Grand Coteau and Cankton would not be included in the parishwide library system because those cities already have a millage that supports the South St. Landry Library

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