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Leominster library funding faces more hurdles
Matthew Bruun, Worcester Telegram & Gazette, September 27, 2006

LEOMINSTER— Councilors still have questions about Mayor Dean J. Mazzarella’s request for $1.3 million in supplemental money to complete the renovation and expansion of the public library.

The council did not vote on the request after a lengthy discussion Monday night and is slated to meet again tonight at 7:30 to continue discussion on the matter.

Council President Robert A. Salvatelli has requested another special meeting at 7 p.m. tomorrow for a vote on the request.

“The project will be completed,” Mr. Salvatelli said yesterday afternoon. “But I don’t think any councilor wants to be put into a box.”

The council president said he wasn’t sure the request would be granted. “This thing doesn’t have the support it needs,” he said yesterday.

The council has requested input from City Hall’s financial team before voting on the appropriation, which was sought because of cost overruns on the library project.

Mr. Salvatelli said councilors want to know what options are available before borrowing the additional money.

Councilor David E. Rowlands suggested the city take money from its stabilization fund and free cash to help pay for the overruns rather than seeking additional bonding.

Mr. Mazzarella, who said he will talk to councilors tonight, said there are options available. But he still needs the council’s authorization for the full amount.

“What’s really essential is the authorization, not the actual borrowing,” Mr. Mazzarella said yesterday. “We’re not even sure we’ll end up borrowing $1.3 million.”

The city has yet to learn the size of its free cash account, he said.

“I suspect we’ll borrow some of that $1.3 million, but I can’t say what it’s going to be,” the mayor said. “I’ve said I’m going to minimize this in every possible way I can.”

Options do not include tapping into the stabilization fund, however, he said. The mayor said such a move would have a negative effect on the city’s bond rating, which could result in higher interest rate payments.

Mr. Mazzarella had requested tonight’s session for a second reading of the proposed loan order, but the council has yet to make the first approval.

Because tonight’s meeting was not posted to include the first approval, Mr. Salvatelli called for the special meeting tomorrow to take the first vote.



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