Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Library Supporters Start to Organize

The group Sustainable Library Citizens Coalition sent a mailer out on Facebook and set up a Facebook event urging their membership to attend the City-County Council meeting on December 20th, 2010. According to the mailer, the full council will be voting on a special resolution urging the General Assembly to grant more control over how the County Optional Income Tax can be used.

The mailer makes it's case for the special resolution by pointing out that Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library currently receives no money from COIT revenue, while 28 other counties do use COIT revenue to fund library systems.

I called the number listed in the mailer and spoke to one of the organization's representatives. She told me that Jackie Nytes (D-9th) will be introducing the special resolution. Unlike Ed Coleman's (LP-At Large) resolution on the Transportation Securities Administration, this special resolution will be introduced AND voted upon at the full council meeting rather than being set to committee.

I have mixed feelings on this. I think the Coalition's heart is in the right place, but I fear they're going about it in the wrong way. Currently, the COIT funds are already dedicated, with the most recent increase in 2007 being aimed at funding public safety.

This means two things:

  • They could cut funds out of the current COIT revenue
  • Or they could increase the COIT.

Neither of those options are very appealing. The first could easily be spun as a cut in public safety, or whatever other services the current COIT revenue funds. And an increase in COIT during the 2011 municipal election cycle could lead to a repeat of what happened in 2007 to whoever supports it.

My hunch is there are other funds that could be re-directed, such as the property taxes that are currently being funnelled to the Capital Improvement Board. Maybe the Coalition could talk to my friend Pat Andrews. If anyone knows where the city is blowing money away, she does.

Full disclosure: My first job was as a page (book shelver) at IMCPL Outreach Services.

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