SALISBURY — When Salisbury voters head to the polls on April 30, they’ll decide whether the town gets its new library.
At their recent meeting, selectmen unanimously approved the debt exclusion ballot question that requests voters’ permission for the town to issue municipal bonds to pay for its portion of building a new, bigger, $7 million library on Salisbury Green.
The state has promised Salisbury a $3.8 million grant, or about 55 percent, toward the cost of building the new library. But, that promise extends to the end of this year and depends on the town coming up with the remainder, from either private or public funding.
The ballot question is the first of a two-part process needed for Salisbury to issue bonds to cover the cost of its share of the new library. Voter approval of the ballot question gives permission for Salisbury to issue bonds, according to Town Clerk Wilma McDonald.
If voters approve the question at the polls on April 30, then the second part of the process will come at May 20’s spring Town Meeting, she said. At the meeting voters will be asked to approve a warrant question with the specific amount of money the town will borrow through the issuance of municipal bonds.
Although a simple majority is needed to approve the debt exclusion ballot question at the polls, at Town Meeting, a super majority, or two-thirds vote, will be needed.
Since two large town expenses will expire within the next five years — the landfill and pension funding — Town Manager Neil Harrington and Finance Director Andrew Gould believe taxpayers will only pay additionally on the 20-year library bond for the first five years. After that, bond repayment will be absorbed in the town’s annual budgets for years six through 20.
Selectman Ed Hunt’s suggestion to hold an information session on the ballot question was supported by all his fellow selectmen, as well as Harrington.