By T. Scott Boatright
The Lincoln Parish Library Board of Control focused on the LPL’s Events Center as it held its monthly meeting on Thursday.
Updating the Events Center policy concerning taxes was the first order of business.
Renting a room at the Events Center now requires registration with the Lincoln Parish Sales and Use Tax Office
Included in the Events Center policies list now includes the following condition:
Groups and individuals who rent the Events Center space and charge admission fees or sell products or services are required to register with the Lincoln Parish Sales and Use Tax Office (251-8621). A copy of the Sales and Use Tax Registration must be submitted with a rental request form. Proof of tax exemption is required for fundraising events. For more information see https://www.revenue.louisiana.
The Library Board of Control also discussed at length the potential of changing rental prices for use of Events Center rooms and equipment.
Thoughts about the fees discussed during previous board meetings were that those fees are not high enough to even allow the Events Center to pay for itself, let alone make any kind of profit.
LPL Director Jeremy Bolom presented a list of potential new fees that was discussed by eight of the nine Board of Control members. Board member Eric McCullough was not present at the meeting.
“For the most used rooms, I put a little extra bump on the (proposed) fees because those are the ones people are requesting specifically,” Bolom said. “The Dubach Room is the little room that has the stage and is right off the kitchen, so that is the one most people want because they see the stage as bonus space.
“They often put the guest of honor up there. None of the other rooms have that. And the convenience of having the kitchen right there is something else they want.”
Bolom said another change he was recommending was not charging a fee for use of some of the tables the Events Center has available to rent.
“The round tables we have available for rent never get rented,” Bolom said. “So it would be easier just to allow people to book those tables and just make sure they know they have to reserve them to know how many should be put out to be used.”
Bolom said that one issue that needs to be discussed is whether or not rental fees for weekend use should be higher than weekday use.
“I didn’t do that with this proposal, but that’s the way the (Ruston) Civic Center does it,”
Bolom did propose reduced fees for multiple-day room rentals.
“A group might want to rent for multiple days and want to decorate and all that and then we’d tell them it’s twice the price (for weekend rentals),” Bolom said. “I look at it like we can get the extra money if they come in a day earlier (to decorate). But that’s just my recommendation.”
Bolom said his proposed fees would be higher than most other venues in Lincoln Parish, including the Civic Center and Lincoln Hall.
“We’re a bigger place, so we can offer more square footage,” Bolom said.
Bolom said another change in his proposal is changing what is considered a half-day rental from four to five hours.
“Especially if you increase by that hour that might make people not so concerned about a price increase,” Bolom said. “
Bolom said there are rental requests in place though the end of the year and even a few into 2024 but that he doesn’t propose any fee increase to those agreements already in place.
“I think any changes (increases) would be made only for rentals made going forth after a decision is made as to what we want to charge,” Bolom said.
Board member Bill Jones said he believes the current fees are much too low and that what he was hearing from Bolom was the question of how big initial increases should be.
“I’m willing to try any increase but I can see the hesitation,” Jones said. “We could split the difference between increases discussed earlier and these.”
Board President Amy Miller said she would also like to see a reduction for nonprofits to be considered as part of a proposed fee schedule.
In the end, the Board of Control unanimously moved to postpone any decision to allow the Events Center committee to look at Bolom’s proposals and hopefully come up with a recommendation of its own to be discussed during the board’s August meeting.