Despite the overwhelming defeat of a referendum to raise taxes for the Louisville, Kentucky library system, it appears the library system will expand.
On November 8, two days after voters rejected the tax hike, Councilman Hal Heiner (R) introduced an alternative plan that relies on using money that will be freed up as debt on major capital projects is retired. He says his proposal accomplishes all the stated goals of the pro-tax group without raising taxes.
Along with issuing $25 million in bonds for construction and renovation during each of the next seven years, Heiner’s plan includes a $1.5 million annual increase in the library’s operating budget over the same time. Currently, the council appropriates about $16.5 million for the library’s operating costs annually. Heiner’s plan would increase council funding for the library’s operating costs to $27 million in 2014.
The Library Master Plan approved by the Metro Council two years ago calls for improving the 17-branch system, with a major share of improvement funds going toward building three new 40,000-square foot regional libraries and work on the city’s downtown 300,000-square foot facility.
— Jim Waters