NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

April 24, 2013

Salisbury officials make case for new library

Building would add $40 to $50 a year to average tax bill, voters told

(Continued)

If passed at the polls, the second part of the process comes at spring Town Meeting on May 20, when voters will be asked to approve a warrant question so the town can borrow the $3.2 million through a bond issuance.

The bonds for the project would have a 20-year term, but after the first five years, the rest of the repayment will be absorbed into Salisbury’s annual budget, Harrington said.

That’s possible because two of the town’s current fixed debt payments — the landfill and employee pension funding — will expire by that time.

More services, more hours, more equipment

With approval, the library would extend its hours, going from today’s 32-hours-a-week, Monday through Thursday schedule, to 46 hours a week, open six days, with extended evening hours twice a week and half a day on Saturday.

The library costs taxpayers $192,000, or 1 percent of the town’s operating budget today. The new building would add about $150,000 in additional employees and energy costs, but that’s still under 2 percent of the town’s overall budget. And in three years, when the project’s completed, Harrington believes the town’s revenues will grow and be able to handle those costs.

Additional space means double the capacity for books, CDs and DVDs, said library Director Terry Kyrios, and 16 instead of only three of one of the library’s most popular offerings — computers.

Interior plans show three rooms for tutoring or study groups, a dedicated young adult section, as well as a children’s room, multiple reading areas, a meeting room for community events, a special genealogical/historical research section, increased WiFi access, handicap accessibility, including restrooms on both floors, and double the amount of parking.

Long time coming

This is no a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants production, Harrington said. It’s been researched for about eight years, beginning with surveys of residents to learn what they want in their library. And Town Meeting has supported efforts to improve its library more than once.

In June 2007, the library was awarded $20,000 in planning and design funds from the state Board of Library Commissioners, with Town Meeting approving another $20,000 for the process. On May 17, 2010, Town Meeting overwhelmingly approved the design for the new library, as well as approving applying for the construction grant from the state, which was ultimately won.

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