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Are Jacksonville libraries safe with a tax increase?

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Updated: 7/24/2013 6:31 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Public library advocates continue their push to turn Jacksonville into an independent library system.

Boxes and boxes jam-packed with petitions were carted into the Supervisor of Elections Office Wednesday. Inside were 7,000 newly added signatures to try to save Jacksonville's literary future.

"We have 12,205 that have been verified. This will take us up into the 18-19,000 range," said library advocate Bill Brinton.

With Mayor Alvin Brown's proposed budget, deep cuts are needed from the library system. Six of the city's 21 libraries would be forced to close.

"It's one less thing that's a positive influence on children's lives. It's one less thing for them to have outreach sources to," said library lover Missy Jackson.

If these advocates get enough signatures -- about 26,000 -- they can have a straw ballot to vote to turn Jacksonville into an independent library district, essentially securing annual funding.

But is the effort still needed? City Council voted Tuesday to authorize a notice to allow the CITY to raise taxes. If they approve a 1.5 millage rate increase, it would save libraries and other entities from making cuts.

Brinton said that's not a done deal. And even if it was, it's only a short-term fix.

"We have a library crisis already without any additional cuts," he said.

Turning Jacksonville into an independent library district is ultimately up to the state legislature.
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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Action News Jacksonville

beechbaby - 7/25/2013 7:07 AM
0 Votes
I agree. The dedicated funding would guarantee that the kids and unemployed who use the computers would still have access to a greatly needed environment.

Charis N - 7/25/2013 12:20 AM
0 Votes
It would be a real relief to pass a separate dedicated tax for the public library and finally end the annual budget trauma and drama. Every year the library is threatened and every year it gets pulled back from the brink but.... cut again. It has been death by a thousand cuts for the last 5 years. The library budget is less now than it was BEFORE the Better Jacksonville Plan and six new buildings.
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