Calcasieu Parish Overwhelmingly Renews Library Tax

Calcasieu Parish Overwhelmingly Renews Library Tax

Voters of Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, approved a 10-year renewal of a 5.99-mill property tax that provides 93% of the Calcasieu Parish Public Library’s $7.3-million annual budget.

The renewal passed with more than 91% approval (5,950–573)—a yes vote that CPPL Director Michael Sawyer told NBC affiliate KPLC-TV May 2 “is unheard of in my world.”

Acknowledging that parish voters are bullish on spending in part because of “new businesses moving into the area, noticeably a large nuclear parts plant,” Sawyer told American Libraries that he networked with the parish’s top 10 taxpayers, which are area industries. “I took the approach that good libraries are good for business,” he said, and businesspeople responded by “letting employees know about the upcoming tax renewal.” The library website also hosted a Library Use Value Calculator so visitors could see for themselves what services they received for their tax dollars from the 13-branch system, and got additional mileage from local firm Lamar Advertising creating images pro bono for 15 digital billboards the company lent CPPL for the campaign.

Not resting on his election laurels, Sawyer added that he will now work with the board of control on a $15–$20 million capital-improvement bond for the 14-branch system to place on the 2010 ballot.

Posted on May 4, 2009.