To the Editor:
I support Shrewsbury's library renovation project. Libraries have evolved – this is not your father's library. Very little of the expansion is for space for new books. It is for space to accommodate approximately 1,000 daily visitors.
The existing structure needs repair. The cost to taxpayers of just repairs is estimated to be $12.8 million. The total cost of the renovation proposal is $23 million. However approving the project captures $8 million in state grants and another $1 million in private donations. Therefore the effective cost to taxpayers of the proposed renovation falls to $13.6 million (similar to the repair option). However, renovation results in a significantly better facility than repair.
In terms of affordability, due to the grants and donations the highest annual cost of the renovation for an average taxpayer is $105 ($2 a week). It declines in all other years. Those with lower than average property assessments pay less.
The grants and donations opportunity disappear if the renovation project is not approved on Nov. 5. To taxpayers faced with spending money on an aging structure anyway, the critical financial issue is whether to leverage the taxpayer's contribution by capturing $9 million in grants and donations.