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Library loan on docket tonight
Marisa Donelan, Sentinel & Enterprise, September 27, 2006

LEOMINSTER -- The City Council, Mayor Dean Mazzarella and other city officials will meet tonight at 7:30 p.m. in City Hall to further discuss a $1.3 million loan order to pay for additional costs of building the new library, as well as any other financial options.

They will also meet at 6:55 p.m. Thursday in City Hall to vote on the loan order request, Ward 4 Councilor and City Council President Robert Salvatelli said Tuesday.

The council on Monday delayed voting on the loan, which Mazzarella had requested, after a lengthy discussion.

Ward 1 City Councilor David Rowlands suggested during Monday's meeting that officials use money from the city's stabilization account to help cover for the increased costs.

But Ward 3 City Councilor Claire Freda said Tuesday that city officials cannot take money from the stabilization account unless the mayor authorizes it.

"It's supposed to be there for an emergency," she said. "It's got to be on the mayor's request that we do that. Could we push him to do that? Certainly. Do we want to? I think there has to be a good reason he asked for a loan order instead."

Salvatelli said Tuesday he hopes officials are able to resolve the issue, and that taxpayers do not view the additional expense as a waste of their money.

"I believe that we need to do more with the public in terms of educating people as to what this facility is going to do for them," he said. "This is going to be a state-of-the-art facility. There is a false perception out there because we have the Internet that all education ends there ... But we need the books, we need the personal touch, and we need the direction."

Also Monday, city councilors voted unanimously to approve amendments to city laws regarding parking violation fines, Salvatelli said.

If the law is not appealed, meter time-out violations will increase from $5 to $10. The fine for blocking a wheelchair ramp will increase from $25 to $100, among other fine changes.

Councilors also voted unanimously to let existing in-law apartments attached to homes exceed the Zoning Board of Appeals' 700-square-foot maximum, provided the homeowner can show written proof of the additions' building dates, Salvatelli said.

They tabled discussions about purchasing Julie Country Day School to wait until they know how much the property will cost, he said.

Councilors also decided to hold a joint meeting with the legal affairs subcommittee, the Planning Board, the Building Inspector and the ZBA to discuss a request from developer James S. Whitney to accept a new state law making the building permit process easier, Salvatelli said.

"That could be quite a controversial discussion, because it's a very, very complex issue," he said.

Salvatelli said officials are looking to hold that meeting on Oct. 12, but the date is not yet finalized.



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