Oh, yes. That's right. They're back!
Victor Joecks, communications director for NRPI, a local libertarian think tank, said tax proponents are being sensationalist and he believes the libraries are relatively healthy given the current state of the economy.
“It’s not this all-or-nothing proposition that’s being put out there,” Joecks said. “The system has grown very healthfully, faster than population growth would dictate. They take the high-water mark for funding, then say they have been cut so much from that high-water mark and now we need a tax increase. ... The library system is doing very well. This is a choice between growing at a rapid rate or an exorbitant rate.”
The library district is independent from the city of Henderson, and the majority of its $7 million budget comes from property taxes. The district’s prerecession funding high was approximately $10 million. The district expects property values to continue to slide in the next few years, further decreasing its funding. It argues the Galleria and Malcolm library branches will be shuttered if the tax initiative, which would raise property taxes by 2 cents per $100 in assessed value, does not pass.
Thomas Fay, Henderson Library District executive director, said efficiencies have been exhausted. The library has cut hours numerous times, and at the beginning of October, district libraries started closing on Mondays. The number of full-time equivalent staff hit a high of 101 in 2009, just after the district reopened a renovated Green Valley branch that had been transferred in 2005 from the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District. In fiscal 2011, the Henderson district had the equivalent of 86.5 full-time employees. Fay said staff from Malcolm and Galleria branches have been finding new jobs amid the uncertainty, and the total staff currently stands at the equivalent of 77.5 full-time employees. He is holding off on hiring anyone until after the tax initiative vote.
If the initiative is approved, the district is estimating a revenue boost of approximately $1.5 million in the first year of collection, fiscal 2013-2014.
“This doesn’t fix everything,” Fay said. “We’ve lost $2.5 million, heading toward $3 million, a year. We feel we have put in a lot of efficiencies, and this is just enough to get us through the next 10 years.”
Clearly, the dittoheads at NPRI don't know shit. After all, they're the ones who are working to defeat the bipartisan school bond initiative just to make an ideological point. Have they even been to any of the Henderson Libraries lately?
I have. And I have seen with my own two eyes how one of them has fallen into disrepair.
And I have experienced firsthand the shortened business hours, ongoing staff cuts, and other effects of recent budget cuts at the Henderson Libraries. If the initiative fails, not only will there be more cuts, but entire libraries will close! Clearly, the "tea party" dittoheads at NPRI are so trapped in their narrow ideological fantasy-land that they can't discuss the dire straits of our local libraries here in the real world.
The Henderson Library District is just asking for $7 per $100,000 in property value per year. That's it. And that's just to maintain what it now has. Seriously, this is what NPRI is attacking.
And this is why no rational human being should take NPRI seriously.