JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Stacks of petitions were turned in Thursday at the Supervisor of Elections office. Each piece of paper represented a person who wants to save Jacksonville's public libraries from further cuts to funding.
Bill Brinton, with Save Jax Libraries, is helping lead the charge. He said, "For those who think our library system somehow got saved at the last minute last year, it didn’t happen."
The petition suggests Jacksonville create a separate taxing district for public libraries, and fund it by a property tax of no more than one mill. That money could then be spent only on libraries. Nothing else.
Brinton said, "You do not have a food fight every year. And we’re seeing it now. We’re going to close six libraries due to other interests begging for money in the City Council."
Brinton says it doesn't necessarily mean your taxes would go up, but he says that could be a possibility.
Action News asked local library users if they would be willing to pay. Mackenzie Elan said, "Possibly, depends on how much extra we're talking about."
Local mom, Nellana Williams, said, "Definitely, because people don't realize that, you know, it does take a village. And if we close the libraries then we end up with students and adults that can't read. We're not doing our community a favor."
Save Jacksonville Libraries wants the final decision to lie in the hands of voters, through a straw ballot initiative.
Brinton said, "Libraries really should have consistency, and should have a dedicated source of funding that can be relied upon if they can’t make long-term decisions for our public library system."
A total of 26,000 signatures are needed to put it on the 2014 ballot. The organization has almost half the signatures it needs.
The group has a website
where you can learn more about the library crisis and the petition circulating around town.