Proposition 18: Funding for Libraries and Arts
Note: Over the past two weeks, KUT News has profiled the 7 bond propositions that will appear on November ballots. The last one, proposition 18, addresses library, museum and cultural arts facilities.
Part of the $13.4 million library and arts bond would fund “interior and exterior renovations” at several branches of the Austin Public Library. These would include the Austin History Center and the University Hills, Cepeda and Will Hampton branches. Of that total amount, $5.4 million would provide funding to repair the National Guard Armory and make it ready for use by Austin Studios, operated by the Austin Film Society. If approved, the renovated facility would provide offices for small film-related businesses and artists.
“It’s an incredible opportunity to expand what we’re already doing in Austin Studios and create a hub of artists and small businesses and additional filmmaking,” said Rebecca Campbell, executive director of the Austin Film Society. “But the building is over 50 years old and it’s in terrible condition.”
In our tightened economy, arts and culture initiatives are often sent to the chopping block. But Campbell says that voting yes to Proposition 18 would help the local economy.
“Specifically with Austin Studios, because of the fact that films are coming and just pouring money into the economy, I think it’s pretty well known that it’s a good move for creating jobs,” Campbell said.
The concern, supporters say, is getting voters to stick around in booths long enough to get all the way down to the bottom of the ballot, where proposition 18 hangs on as the last of seven bond proposals.
“That’s why we’re really trying to encourage people to vote on the bond as a package,” said supporter Ian Davis. He’s the field director of the Love Austin campaign, which works to educate voters about the bonds.
The city says that no increase in this year’s property tax rate is expected as a result of the passage of proposition 18. Early voting in Travis County begins on Monday, Oct. 22.