The Library Construction Bond Act, passed with strong bi-partisan support in both the Assembly and State Senate, was signed into law by Governor Christie in July. The Act requires that voters approve the state issuing $125 million worth of bonds with a ballot question on November 7.
The program will be a 1:1 match of state and local funding, providing a potential infusion of $250,000,000 into New Jersey’s economy. The $125 million Library Construction Bond Act allows for much-needed enhancement, as the last program for capital construction in public libraries was passed 15 years ago for $45 million of approved funding. With the previous bond approval, sixty-eight library projects were completed.
The Library Construction Bond Act would not only have short-term benefits, including the improvements for the libraries, but also long-term advantages. By improving local libraries, communities would be provided with resources for career training, access to technology and access to an invaluable community center.
A survey by the New Jersey Library Association in 2014 found there is a strong need for capital funding for physical improvements and technological updates in public libraries.
With over 41 million people visiting the public libraries in New Jersey last year, the need for this support is apparent. In all, it is estimated that the bond program will cost approximately $1 a year per NJ residents for 35 years. However, the gain from passing the bond far exceeds the cost, with generating at least $250 million in economic development, providing hundreds of jobs for construction workers and small businesses, as well as enhancing the library facilities for New Jersey residents.
The Southern New Jersey Development Council encourages you to Vote Yes on Referendum #1 on Tuesday, November 7.
Marlene Z Asselta, President
Southern New Jersey Development Council
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