On October 18th, Shrewsbury voters will decide whether to raise their taxes to fund a $19 million expansion of the public library. I urge them to vote “no”.
The expansion is not urgently needed. Many problems of the currently library have been, or can easily be, corrected. The recent purchase of the adjacent credit union has provided needed space.
The midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression — with no end in sight — is not the time to increase residents” tax burden. Besides, if this proposal is approved, Shrewsbury's town government plans to then proceed to ask voters to increase their taxes once again, in order to replace the Beal school.
Furthermore, the $7.9 million state grant for the project is not guaranteed. The governor can delay funding the grant, which he might if this recession continues.
Voting “no” would allow a design for a smaller, better, less expensive library to be developed. (The current plan would make the library as long as football field and would fill in most of the basement, wasting existing space.)
According to Rosemary Waltos, who administers library construction grants for the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, voters can defeat this proposal without risking the state grant. (Advocates of the proposal have incorrectly stated that defeat of their proposal will lose the state grant.)
This project should be delayed until the economy has recovered and a better design for the library has been prepared. Voting “no” will provide that needed delay.
I therefore urge voters to vote “no” on October 18th.