Our libraries are one of the few bright lights we have in Hancock County. Supervisors, as you consider a $200,000 budget reduction for the library between fiscal year 2018 and fiscal year 2019 — after already sustaining similar budget cuts this year — and want to renegotiate the cost-sharing/governance agreement between units of government, I respectfully ask one thing: Don’t harm our libraries.
Our libraries are more than buildings with books. They are community centers, places to access the internet or online job postings, where our kids enjoy summer reading programs that improve their life prospects, where anybody can improve their knowledge and economic prospects through online courses and other resources.
Our libraries are not just a cost, but an investment in our future. New employees working at Stennis, etc., will choose to live in either Slidell or Hancock County based on the quality of our schools and libraries. Our libraries matter to prospective retirees looking to invest here.
If we want to grow Hancock County, please ensure our libraries have adequate funding to continue their best-in-class performance. Funding the libraries fully is an important quality-of-life issue and a fundamental economic development asset. You can’t cut a quarter of the libraries’ budget over several years without doing harm to one of our best assets. Please don’t do it.
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