, Newburyport, MA

May 17, 2013

Library cost not scary, and reward is enormous

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

At Salisbury’s Spring Town Meeting on Monday, May 20, citizens will find on the warrant an article to approve the funding for construction of a new library. This project, a culmination of over six years of work and thousands of hours of planning, has the potential to be an enduring source of pride for the Salisbury community.

And yet I fear that the large numbers thrown around in discussing this project could deter some from supporting what is truly an amazing opportunity for the town and its citizens. The total cost of the project indeed seems large, but represents nowhere near the actual burden taxpayers in the town would face.

The library has received a $3.8 million grant from the state; this is money already paid in taxes to the state and designated for library construction grants. If we do not accept the grant, we do not get the money back; it simply goes to the next town on the list for them to build their new library with.

What’s more, between the contributions of the library community and the fundraising efforts of the Friends of the Salisbury Public Library, in addition to expiring debt in the town’s current budget, the debt exclusion for this project lasts only five years!

Over that time period, the average household would pay an additional $40 to $50 per year, after which the rest of the cost could be absorbed by the existing town budget. In other words, if you can afford a Dunkin Donuts coffee (even a small) once a month, in five years you can pay for a new library for generations to come. One dollar a month for five years. A new library for any and all members of our community, for years to come.

The numbers aren’t that scary when put into context, and the reward is enormous. This library is right in the center of town, and can be the heart of the community. The library supports every age group, every demographic and every interest in town. I have always been proud of the Salisbury Public Library, but its building is insufficient and in disrepair. I know; I worked there for six years and have been there every week for the past three years since then. I can remember that library at every point in my life.

A new building for the Salisbury Public Library will be something all members of our community can be proud of, and will serve as just one more thing that makes every one of us proud of our town.

Joseph Stucker

Salisbury Public Library Trustee