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L.A. council drops plan to put library tax measure on fall ballot

July 13, 2010 |  5:04 pm

The Los Angeles City Council abandoned a plan Tuesday for putting a tax on the Nov. 2 ballot to raise money for city libraries, but left the door open for a similar proposal to go on the municipal ballot in March.

The decision came roughly two weeks after the council moved ahead with the layoffs of 98 library employees.

Proponents of the levy said it would provide money to restore those positions and have six days of library service per week, instead of the five that were put in place on July 6. But several council members said the city could not afford to risk spending the $4.2 million that county elections officials would charge to put the measure on the ballot, only to see it fail.

If the measure goes on the city's own ballot in March, there would be no cost. “Hopefully this is not killing this forever,” Councilwoman Janice Hahn said. “We want to let people decide.”

The tax would have required property owners to pay $39 per parcel per year to help restore some of the library hours that were cut earlier this month.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s appointees on the Board of Library Commissioners had sought the tax for this year’s election but the mayor sounded lukewarm on the idea.

The city has 64 branch libraries, eight regional libraries and the Central Library, which is located in downtown Los Angeles.

-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall