Lafayette parish council voted Tuesday to give the Lafayette parish library system a two-year fund increase by increasing a property tax from 1.84 million to 1.97 million.
The change is expected to raise about $ 288,000 more each year for the library system, which is facing a $ 1.2 million deficit. It won’t be permanent as the lower tax of 1.84 million is on the November 13th ballot for renewal.
The community officials did not consult with the library council before setting the renewal rate at 1.84 million, although it could have been renewed at a higher rate.
If library tax renewal fails, only one or two libraries in Lafayette parish can remain open
Assessor Conrad Comeaux told the council on Tuesday that if voters approve the November extension at 1.84 mills, that will be the new maximum that can be collected, not 2 mills.
“You may want to reconsider this vote,” said Comeaux.
The library system lost more than $ 3.5 million in annual recurring revenue when voters were unable to renew one of the three property taxes used to fund the system in 2018. In 2019, voters turned $ 10 million from savings in the library system into drainage, and in 2020 the local council failed to override a veto by Mayor President Josh Guillory that blocked the increase in library millages allowed after the property values were rated for the first time since the decline had declined in the 1980s.
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Cancellation of the municipality’s property tax hike fails; Library could be broke in four years
City council also heeded a warning from Comeaux on Tuesday to raise a general alimony tax that the public will not vote on. The move is critical, as otherwise the maximum general alimony tax in the city would be permanently reduced.
Most property taxes are decided every 10 years. Not the maintenance tax. At first the general maintenance tax in the city was 7 mills. It is now being collected at 5.42 mills, in part because the council did not increase it when it had the opportunity to do so last year.
With real estate values in the city falling in the past year, the city council has the option to raise the alimony tax to 5.67 million. That is what the Council voted for.
“The long-term effects are appalling because you can never go back and capture that,” he said.
The increase is expected to generate the same tax revenue in 2019.