Former selectman Jerry Klima was the winner of the race for Town Moderator. Klima won with a total of 973 votes, over his competitor, Ronalee Ray-Parrott, who earned 792 votes in her first race for town office.
Although pleased at his own win, Klima was more delighted that the library ballot question passed.
“The library (vote) is really wonderful,” Klima said. “I’m very pleased about that.”
The approval of the library ballot question gives permission for the town to bond to pay for about 43 percent, or about $3.2 million, of the $7,452,330. The rest of the money will come from $400,000 in contributions and a state grant for $3,856,187, or 52 percent of the total.
But the state grant only comes into play if the project is approved locally by June 30, the reason a Town Meeting’s approval is so critical this year. Without it Salisbury could wait years before state money is available again.
If Town Meeting gives its OK, the cost of paying off the debt will add from $40 to $50 at year for the first five years for the average residential tax bill. After five years, the debt repayment will be absorbed into the town’s operating budget, as other town debt is retired.
The result of the five candidate race for selectman and the ballot questions drew a huge turnout at the polls for a spring town election. Last year, with no contested races, only 292 people showed up, about 5 percent of those registered. This year, about 32 percent of registered voters cast ballots, sending a steady stream of people to the voting booths all day long, according to Town Clerk Wilma McDonald.