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Mayor has plan to pay library overrun
Mary Jo Hill , Worcester Telegram & Gazette, November 2, 2006

LEOMINSTER - Mayor Dean J. Mazzarella said he has come up with a plan to pay for the $1.3 million overrun in the library project that will not involve a tax hike and, in fact, has an idea that will cut the project's cost to taxpayers.

There had been talk that borrowing to cover the shortfall would hike the average taxpayer's bill by $14, but Mr. Mazzarella said a capital budget he has put together would wipe out that increase.
Under this budget, Mr. Mazzarella would borrow the money for the shortfall but use free cash to pay off the loan.

The City Council would vote over a 7- to 10-year period on paying off part of the $1.3 million each year using free cash, Mr. Mazzarella said.

The mayor also wants to use free cash to pay off about $400,000 in interest for temporary borrowing for the entire library expansion.

Paying off this interest now rather than over 10 years would save money, he said.

The library overrun became a contentious issue between the mayor and the council when councilors were asked to authorize the $1.3 million loan. Some councilors balked at the idea of a possible tax increase for the borrowing, but Mr. Mazzarella said he would work on finding other ways to pay for it.

Council Chairman Robert A. Salvatelli said he is happy to hear that the mayor has come up with a way to solve problems related to payment for the library.

Mr. Salvatelli said he believed using money from the sale of a house owned by the city would have been less painful than free cash. Apparently the mayor had other plans for that money, he said.

As for the capital budget, which the mayor plans to provide to the council before the Nov. 13 meeting, Mr. Salvatelli said, "We'll take a look at it."

Mr. Mazzarella said the money from the sale of the house will go into a pot of money to be used for capital needs. Since the house was bought as part of the Sky View Middle School project, he would like to see the money used for a project that is school related.

Other items to be covered by free cash under Mr. Mazzarella's capital budget include:

School transportation costs.

Improvements to a communications tower for the Police Department.

Purchase of a dump truck with a sander and plow, police cruisers and an ambulance.

Maintenance of cupolas on City Hall and Kendall Hall.

Replacement of the roof at Leominster High School.

Work on the veterans' center.

The mayor said he plans on holding off on sending some of the projects to the council right away to see how finances are going during the year.




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