Library's Expansion | Newspaper Articles
Library money finally OK’d
Rosa disputes need for bond
Matthew Bruun, Telegram & Gazette, October 11,
LEOMINSTER— Despite concerns about how the request ended up
in council chambers, the City Council last night affirmed
its vote supporting a $1.3 million bond authorization to
complete the expansion and renovation of the public library.
Councilor Dennis A. Rosa cast the lone dissenting vote last
night, echoing his stance from two weeks ago that
alternative funding sources were available to cover cost
overruns associated with the project without raising taxes
through added borrowing.
“I say this to the taxpayers — show me the money,” Mr. Rosa
said. “It’s there.”
Councilor Richard M. Marchand, who joined Mr. Rosa in voting
against the loan authorization last month, was not present
last night because of a medical issue, Council President
Robert A. Salvatelli said.
The 7-1 vote last night represented the second reading of
Mayor Dean J. Mazzarella’s request to borrow up to $1.3
million to complete the library, which is expected to open
its doors in April.
Library officials and members of the public pleaded with
councilors last night to support the request, needed to
cover cost overruns related to various factors, including
asbestos abatement and ledge and water remediation. Only one
person spoke out against the appropriation during the
lengthy public hearing on the matter.
“You’d think we never had a library,” Carol Kenyon told
councilors. “This library was less than 40 years old when
they chose to destroy it. We had a nice library before.”
The rest of the speakers implored councilors to support the
project, which they said would be a community asset for
years to come.
Councilor David E. Rowlands said he was bothered that Mayor
Dean J. Mazzarella hadn’t taken councilors’ suggestions on
alternative methods to fund the overruns, including free
cash, the stabilization fund or more than $320,000 netted
from the sale of a city-owned house on Page Avenue.
Mr. Rowlands said councilors had no choice but to support
the loan authorization and said the proper level of checks
and balances had been thwarted by the mayor’s tactics.
Despite the mood among the audience in council chambers, Mr.
Rowlands and other councilors said there was little public
support for the extra appropriation.
“If I was a populist this would lose hands down,” Mr.
Rowlands said, saying the city’s next priority should be
school building needs.
Councilor John M. Dombrowski said he had heard widespread
opposition to the latest request, but the project had to
move forward and the city would benefit from keepings its
stabilization fund intact.
“I know it’s not a popular vote,” he said, “but I do believe
for the long term it’s in the city’s best interest.”
Councilor Wayne A. Nickel also said he wanted to keep the
stabilization fund intact and voted to approve the loan
Councilor Claire M. Freda said she was concerned that the
recent discord over the project was hurting fundraising
efforts for the library, and expressed hopes that officials
could provide a unified front in support of the building.
Councilor Virginia A. Tocci said she supported the original
borrowing in 2003 and now, with the project 85 percent
complete, she would not change her stance.
Councilor James J. Lanciani Jr. said he has heard from
constituents on both sides of the issue, but supported the
loan order because it was the right thing to do.
Mr. Salvatelli voted with his colleagues in support of the
authorization but did not comment during the meeting.