NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

May 8, 2013

Library tops questions facing voters

SALISBURY — The proposed library project faces its final hurdle at Town Meeting on May 20, when voters will decide if the town is allowed to issue bonds needed to construct the new, larger building.

Listed on the 30-question warrant as Article 25, this will be the final decision needed to replace the current 3,000-square-foot library with a modern 17,000-square-foot edifice. But it needs more than a simple majority to get a green light. Because it concerns issuing bonds,Town Meeting must pass the article by a super majority vote before the project will move ahead.

On April 30, about 32 percent of those voting approved placing the question on the warrant. When the vote of 1,134 in favor and 733 opposed was announced, it drew the biggest cheer of the night. Although admittedly very happy with the vote, Salisbury Library Trustee Joe Stucker warned followers their work wasn’t done yet. He advised them to take the momentum into Town Meeting.

The article requests approval to borrow $7,500,000, the total cost of the project, but adds “provided that such sum is to be reduced by the receipt of a $3,856,187 provisional grant awarded” by the state Board of Library Commissioners. The sum may be also reduced by another $400,000, the amount Salisbury Public Library supporters have promised to supply from their fundraising campaign.

To get the $3.8 million state grant, however, Salisbury Town Meeting must approve putting up its share of the cost by June 30. If this vote fails, it could be years before the state is willing to offer the grant again.

Town Meeting will also be asked for permission to borrow $1,026,372 to make energy conservation improvements to some of its public buildings that will save substantial sums for the town over the next 20 years. The request comes after surveys were done to pinpoint ways to conserve energy in town.

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