Library Project Too Big, Expensive

A letter writer urges voters to vote down the proposed library building project in the hope that the plans can be scaled back.

To the Editor:

Town officials want to increase your taxes again!

They want to spend $19.2 million [this is the TOTAL project cost, which includes private donations] to expand the library with an over-priced, over-sized public library project. They are planning a snap election on October 18 to pass a debt exclusion question. They are hoping for a low turnout on this special October ballot.

Meanwhile, our sewer bills go up yet again this August. (In 5 years we will be paying an additional $300 a year on our sewer bills.) And soon after the Shrewsbury project, the selectmen will be asking for another tax increase, to replace Beal School? Don’t town officials realize that we are in the midst of a devastating recession? Unemployment isn't expected to drop below 9 percent next year.

Here are the facts:

  • State grant of $7.9 million is not guaranteed. The federal debt crisis may result in substantial cuts in aid to the states, so the governor may not fund the grant for this project. Without the grant, the cost of this project per taxpayer could double.
  • No assessment has been done for the effect of electronic books on libraries over the next 10 years. Since e-books takes up no shelf space, the library could be made considerably smaller, hence less expensive.
  • Additional cost-saving measures include using the entire existing basement and simply storing more books per shelf. This would save $2 to 3 million. Under the current plan, the library would be as long as a football field and costly to build.
  • State officials have said that you can vote "no" on Oct. 18 without any risk of losing the $7.9 million state grant.  A "no" vote would allow a less expensive design for the library to be prepared. The cost to the taxpayers for this project would be delayed until times are better.

We need a smaller, better planned library expansion project, at a reasonable cost, that meets our true library needs—not WANTS.

We urge you to Vote “No.” Defeat this costly library expansion project.

Brian Austin
4 Highridge Rd.


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