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EBR libraries could lose funding in order to help parish drainage issues

Published: Jun. 16, 2021 at 5:49 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The East Baton Rouge Metro Council is looking into the possibility of taking funding away from local libraries to more money towards fixing drainage issues.

“I think the council knows that we’ve got to make these critical investments in our drainage to have this city be successful and livable and to really meet what residents are asking of us at this time,” says Council Member Laurie Adams.

Right now, the Metro Council is looking to make some major adjustments in funding to work on the Parish’s drainage and sewage issues; to do that they are pulling money away from local libraries. The Metro Council says if they don’t do something now about the drainage problems, then there may not be a library in the future. Adams, who is over district 11, says this proposal won’t cripple the library system.

“This is a good proposal, it’s a good proposal that keeps our library strong, but it will strengthen our drainage and infrastructure program. Both of those things are needed for a city to be successful,” adds Adams.

However, East Baton Rouge Library directors are worried that if major cuts are done to their funding, they will have to cut back on their programs and hours.

“Unfortunately, at our preliminary look on things that means that by the time you look at our fixed cost and keeping content available, keeping books and online services available. That doesn’t leave much to cut except begin to try and cut back on hours of operation,” says Spencer Watts who is the EBR library director.

Some of the programs that could see cutbacks are early childhood and elementary school literacy, along with computer instruction programs, and other community outreach services.

“Anything that happens that constricts our ability or makes it more difficult for us to reach the greatest number possible is disappointing,” adds Watts.

Watts says that they are all for helping out with drainage funding, but they are hoping it won’t cost them too much to where it will prohibit the libraries in the future.

The Metro Council is also proposing pulling money from East Baton Rouge Parish Mosquito Abatement and Rodent Control, but nothing is set in stone. The Council will talk more about the funding plan on June 23rd.

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