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New board member says taxpayer money 'wasted' on parish libraries

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BATON ROUGE - Concerns of overspending and allocation of taxpayer dollars were voiced Thursday at the East Baton Rouge Library Board of Control's monthly meeting. The board's newest member, Chance Wilson, was the one raising those concerns.

"It's our job to scrutinize it and look at it carefully and make sure the taxpayers are being protected," Wilson said.

Wilson points to the 2018 budget to show hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money is being wasted. The board approved allocating $94,000 for an interactive globe for the new library downtown. Also included in that budget, more than $170,000 for a book dispenser at the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport, and $35,000 for furniture for a single office at the Main Library on Goodwood.

"I was shocked," Wilson said. "I read the appropriation twice because it said $35,000. I thought it was furniture for all across this main library, but it was $35,000 for that office."

Other board members criticized Wilson for how he went about voicing his concerns, saying he blindsided the board. Board President, Jason Jacob says all money brought in is used responsibly, and that all budget appropriations are estimates.

"They do the best they can thinking this is how much a particular item will cost," Jacob said. "Oftentimes it's never that amount of money."

Some of the items, like the globe and book dispenser, have not yet been bought and are still being discussed by board members. 

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