Library's Expansion | Newspaper Articles
Leominster OKs $1.3M loan for library - Council backs
mayor's bid in show of `faith'
Matthew Bruun, Worcester Telegram & Gazette,
September 30, 2006
LEOMINSTER - After lengthy and heated debate, city
councilors decided to put their faith in Mayor Dean J.
Mazzarella this week and approve his request to borrow up to
$1.3 million to complete the expansion of the public
The loan authorization was approved by a 7-2 vote, with
Councilors Dennis A. Rosa and Richard M. Marchand opposing.
The matter will be the subject of another public hearing
Oct. 10, when the City Council must approve a second reading
of the loan order.
At the lengthy meeting Thursday night, both Mr. Rosa and Mr.
Marchand were concerned about raising taxes to pay for the
project's cost overruns.
"The vote was very difficult," Council President Robert A.
Salvatelli said yesterday. "We have to put our faith in (Mr.
Mazzarella) to pay this off before we have to borrow. It
came down to voting this down or having faith in the mayor."
Mr. Mazzarella said he was frustrated by councilors'
posturing on the issue and said the residents of Leominster
should feel confident that he will look for alternatives.
"I have a record of keeping taxes down," the mayor said. "I
say to the taxpayers, just watch me. Evaluate me on my
The increased cost of the library, blamed on such problems
as ledge, asbestos and water remediation, has raised hackles
in the city. Many residents spoke out in opposition to the
funding request earlier this week, saying senior citizens
cannot afford another property tax increase.
Proponents of the project say the expanded library, opening
in the spring, will be a community asset for generations.
Councilors said they wanted to see other funding sources
tapped to pay for the overage, including free cash or
proceeds from the sale of city property.
"I based (my vote) on our financial ability to fund the $1.3
million with existing money or anticipated money that's
going to be available in free cash," said Mr. Rosa, chairman
of the Finance Committee.
He said the council had been placed in a tough spot by the
mayor, who maintained the authorization was needed now.
Mr. Mazzarella disputed the characterization that the
appropriation was a last-minute request."There was no 11th
hour," he said. "We gave them this three weeks ago and
they've had meeting after meeting. They always say they've
been boxed into this. It's tired and old."
Mr. Salvatelli said he didn't like how the process had been
handled, but his support for the library project won out.