Galveston residents have so much more because of people that don’t live here. Our access to health care through the University of Texas Medical Branch is way out of proportion to our resident population. We have more restaurants, more shopping, more activities, more arts, better beaches and better streets because of out-of-towners. The benefits to our resident community far outweigh any problems or issues we have with visitors, and the money that the city puts toward services and resources is proper and necessary. But after reading about the request to forgo revenues for Rosenberg Library, I’m not feeling the love for Galveston residents (“Galveston asks library to forgo part of a revenue windfall,” The Daily News, July 20).
There are just a few things that we can claim as residents of Galveston. Our school system is one, for example. Our parks are another. The Rosenberg Library is our most valued possession, and we want it fully supported with all the money to which it’s entitled. It’s ours, and we don’t want the city messing with its budget. The library isn’t a soft service to us. It’s essential to our quality of life in Galveston.
So much of our tax revenue goes to supporting our visitors. The more traveled streets get paved first, police and public safety officers concentrate on the tourist population on the seawall and The Strand. We have to pay for parking just like the tourists. Even the traffic lights on Broadway are timed for medical branch employees taking their money off the island. Residents don’t begrudge any of this. We complain a bit, but we understand the need.
But the Rosenberg Library directly supports our local community. It’s a community gem in a sea of T-shirt shops and fast food restaurants. It may be the best thing about our community. The quality and size of the library is also way out of proportion to our population. We’re so fortunate to have one of the greatest public libraries in the state here in our town. The collections and services, from children’s storytime and workshops, to book clubs for adults, to the history center are essential to the quality of life in this community.
I don’t know where the city will get the money it needs. You might have to cut tourist services, decrease the marketing budget or cut police presence on the seawall. I don’t know. It’s a hard choice. I do know that I will oppose any referendum that takes money away from the library, and I urge Mike Miller and the board of directors to resist reducing any revenue. The Rosenberg Library belongs to us. Leave it alone.