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Lafayette City-Parish Council to discuss library fund rededication

Posted at 6:40 AM, May 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-07 07:40:38-04

The saga over library funds continues. Tonight, the Lafayette City-Parish Council will consider a resolution to drain that fund.

Mayor-President Joel Robideaux’s resolution asks the council to rededicate $18 million in surplus funds from the Lafayette Public Library to infrastructure. Robideaux’s proposal first went before the council in January for consideration but was cut to $10 million.

The Lafayette Library system currently has $26 million in funds collected over the years from tax money approved by voters to spend on libraries.

If the council decides to drain the funds they will need to get permission from Lafayette Parish voters.
Because the fund balance was built up with tax money collected from a tax approved by voters to be spent on libraries, any change in the use of the money must be approved by voters.

If approved it could go on the October ballot.

What is a Fund Balance

The fund balance is not a savings account. It’s a term that refers to the difference between what is spent and what is collected.

Entities like the library are required to keep a certain amount of money in that fund balance.The amount is based on the annual cost of operations for the entity.

If the taxes are dedicated to capital expenses like construction, equipment, books, then the entity can choose to build up the fund balance for those expenses, or use it to issue bonds (borrow money) that will be paid off with future tax collections.

On Monday, the Lafayette Public Library Board amended its budget ahead of Tuesday’s city-parish council rededication vote. Lafayette Library amends budget, sets funds for new branch