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Council balks at library loan $1.3M sought to finish project
Mary Jo Hill, Telegram & Gazette, September 29, 2006

LEOMINSTER— City councilors repeatedly pressed Mayor Dean J. Mazzarella last night about finding other ways than borrowing to come up with $1.3 million needed to complete an expansion of the city library.

During last night’s special meeting of the City Council, Councilor Robert A. Salvatelli said if the mayor comes up with the money in a different way he would support it.

Mr. Mazzarella said he could walk out of the council chambers a hero if he said there were other ways to fund the shortfall in the project. But that would not be responsible, he said.

Mr. Mazzarella emphasized that he would do everything he could to minimize borrowing but said it was too early in the fiscal year to make promises about pulling money from other sources.

The council was considering a request by Mr. Mazzarella to appropriate the $1.3 million and to authorize borrowing the money. The money is needed to cover costs related to ledge found in the construction area, the unexpected discovery of asbestos and work needed to divert groundwater.

The council had not voted on the mayor’s request by late last night.

Two members of the council’s Finance Committee said they would support the mayor’s request for an authorization, although the backing was not enthusiastic.

Councilor John M. Dombrowski said aside from people who are connected to the library or who frequent it, he has not spoken to a single person in favor of granting the petition.

But, Mr. Dombrowski said, “I think it’s irresponsible in the long run to vote against this despite what the people and the public have said.”

He said he is encouraged by the mayor’s pledge to minimize borrowing for the $1.3 million.

Councilor Wayne A. Nickel said that despite discussion from the mayor that the project would stop without the authorization, he does not believe that anybody would allow that to happen.

But he recommended that the council go along with the loan authorization because he does not believe that the full amount will end up being borrowed. Once the city’s “free cash” amount, or unexpended funds available from previous budgets, has been certified by the state, Mr. Nickel said, he believes a portion of the money will come from that fund.

Councilor Dennis A. Rosa took a minority point of view on the committee, recommending to deny the authorization.

Mr. Rosa said he believes a majority of residents would be willing to pull money from the stabilization fund, but that was not the proposal before the council.

Being left with only one choice, Mr. Rosa said he has to live up to his promises. He said he believes the majority of taxpayers are saying no to raising their taxes



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