Recently Shrewsbury voters received a voter information pamphlet concerning the proposed expansion of the library, which will be considered at a special election on October 18th. In that pamphlet, the proposal's advocates state: “If this vote fails, the state grant and private fund raising will not be available.” This is incorrect.
Rosemary Waltos, who administers library construction grants for the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, has stated that voters can vote “no” on October 18th without any risk of losing the $7.9 million state grant.
Currently, Shrewsbury is only on the state's “wait list” for a library construction grant. In 2014, state officials expect Shrewsbury to advance to the next stage of the grant process, when the library will receive a “provisional award”. The town would then have six months to complete local financing (by approving a Prop. 2 ½ tax increase) and to fulfill certifications and requirements. According to state officials, Shrewsbury voters could vote “no” on any library ballot question prior to receiving the provisional award without any risk of losing the state grant.
Advocates of the library's proposal should therefore immediately issue a correction. There is no excuse for their inaccuracy. The grant regulations (605 C.M.R. 6) are available on the Internet.
We urge voters to vote “no” on October 18th because doing so will allow a smaller, better, substantially less expensive library design to be developed, and it will send a strong message to officials not to mislead the taxpayers in the future.
Chairman, Committee for a Smaller Library