On Nov. 2, the voters of Ascension will cast votes in elections for Lieutenant Governor, two Congressional Races for U.S. Representative, a U.S. Senator race, ten state constitutional amendments, the renewal of two existing library tax millages (4.2 mills and 2.6 mills) that are the primary funding sources for maintenance and operations of our Donaldsonville, Gonzales, Galvez and Dutchtown branch libraries, and the renewal of the 2 mill mental health tax, which was also renewed in past years.


On Nov. 2, the voters of Ascension will cast votes in elections for Lieutenant Governor, two Congressional Races for U.S. Representative, a U.S. Senator race, ten state constitutional amendments, the renewal of two existing library tax millages (4.2 mills and 2.6 mills) that are the primary funding sources for maintenance and operations of our Donaldsonville, Gonzales, Galvez and Dutchtown branch libraries, and the renewal of the 2 mill mental health tax, which was also renewed in past years.

Please allow me to preface my comments by saying that in elections, some people unfortunately have no problem misstating the facts.  I write this letter only out of concern that the voters might possibly be misled or unclear on the two library millages up for renewal that were last approved ten years ago in 2000.  Parish Councilman Chris Loar deserves the credit for this confusion and lack of clarity.  Mr. Loar, as Chairman of the Parish Council's Finance Committee, recently made inaccurate statements in public meetings regarding fund balances and future tax collection revenues for the Ascension Parish Libraries. I cannot ascertain as to whether or not his actions were intentional. However, I can say with certainty, his tax revenue numbers were off and overstated by approximately $6 million.  How could the Chairman of the Parish Government Finance Committee be so off on his numbers? It's rather disturbing to me also  how Ascension Library Director Angelle Deshautelles' explanation on revenues and expenditures was received  during a parish government meeting. Ms. Deshautelles has been an excellent director for many years and I commend her and the members of the Library Board and staff for operating an excellent library system for so many years. It's a model for other areas of the country to emulate.  Another benefit in addition to serving the public is that a great system like ours impacts our home values in a positive manner.

I have reviewed in depth and concluded that Councilman Loar's statements implying the millage renewals as being unnecessary are absolutely false and misleading.  Conversely, Ms. Deshautelle's factual statements are true and accurate and have also been verified by another public body.

Please visit and see the new Dutchtown Library and the remodeling and addition improvements to the Gonzales Library. While visiting any Ascension branch library, please ask for a Parish Library Funding information brochure. It's very good information that states the facts. Seek the information and make an informed vote of support to renew both millages for the continued success of our libraries on Tuesday, Nov. 2. Again, these are not new taxes and we don't want to take a step backwards with our libraries. Some libraries will be closed if both existing millages are not renewed.

Thank you.

Doug Hillensbeck
Prairieville