Library's Expansion | Newspaper Articles
Council delays vote on library loan
J.J. Huggins, Sentinel & Enterprise, September 26, 2006
LEOMINSTER -- City councilors on Monday night delayed voting
whether to borrow $1.3 million to pay for unexpected costs
associated with building the new library.They voted to delay
making a decision until they meet again for a special
meeting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night in City Hall, so they
can better understand their financial options.
They also asked the city's financial department heads to
attend the meeting.
Before the council decided to delay taking a vote, Ward 1
City Councilor David Rowlands suggested some alternative
ways to come up with the $1.3 million.
Rowlands said he wants to avoid placing any more of the
burden of the library's cost on the taxpayers, via their
"Eighty percent of the taxes in the city are paid by the
homeowner," he said. "They can't pay it any more."
Rowlands said officials should take $650,000 from the city's
stabilization account and the $330,000 the city is making
from selling a home on Page Avenue. The city acquired the
home in 1999 when buying land to build Sky View Middle
He said more fundraising can help make up for the rest of
the financial shortfall, and he called on businesses, who
have seen their taxes go down, to donate.
Ward 3 City Councilor Claire Freda disagreed with Rowlands'
idea of using money from the stabilization account, and said
she thinks the idea has already been considered.
"I think we all thought about the stabilization account. But
the stabilization account is clearly because of an emergency
in case taxes can't be paid," she said. "Is there an
emergency at this point?"
At large City Councilor Dennis Rosa, the chairman of the
finance subcommittee, said there is $8,026,493 in the
stabilization account and $54,308 in the emergency reserve.
The city is "still in good financial shape" and can afford
to approve a 10-year bond for the $1.3 million, he said.
But if the city takes out a 10-year loan for the $1.3
million, the average single-family homeowner will see their
property taxes increase by a total of $97 within the next
year, Rosa said.
That includes an $83 increase because of the $7.8 million
the council unanimously approved in 2003, plus $14 more if
they approve the $1.3 million, according to Rosa.
Seventeen people voiced their opinion about the spending
during the public forum.
Thirteen of the 17 people said they favored the spending.
"I've been going to the library since I was a freshmen in
high school," said Paul Wolfe, 18, who attends Fitchburg
State College. "It has stopped me from going out and causing
trouble around the city. It has kept me from being into
Ernest Caponi, 73, said he has been able to write a book
because of the resources available at the library.
"The facilities at the library are wonderful," he said.
But another resident, Peter Latchis, said the city made do
with a small library.
Now, "we're building monuments" at a "tremendous cost to the
taxpayer," he said.
The city is going to need to embark on other building
projects in the coming years, such as a new water filtration
plant and a new police station, Latchis said.
Mary Jane Cuddahy of 8 Marita St. also spoke against the
"The children in the schools in Leominster are asked to pay
for buses and sports ... There are many people in Leominster
that are calling the library the Taj Mahal," she said.
"I would like to know where your priorities are," she told
Workers are rehabilitating the old library, which was built
in 1910, and adding onto it. The building is slated to open