‘To reverse a project at this point would set a catastrophic precedent’

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Letter to the Editor logoTo the Editor:

I am writing in regard to the current on-going debate in which some express the idea that the upcoming Special Town Meeting on December 10th to reconsider the Library Project sets a dangerous precedent.  I would argue that a more dangerous precedent would be for a Town Meeting to capriciously derail a multimillion dollar municipal building project that is 10 years into a 14 or 15 year trajectory.  

Never before has our town meeting reversed an approved, public building project in-process. The time for rejection is at the inception of a project. To reverse a project at this point would set a catastrophic precedent that any large municipal building project can be jettisoned on the slim whim of a dozen residents, regardless of the project continuum. This would make future planning for a public entity untenable by discouraging contractors and volunteers from wanting anything to do with future endeavors.  

The library’s need for either significant renovation or major reconstruction has been presented at Town meetings 11 times between 2013 and 2021. The presentations were to inform voters, ask for any necessary further votes, and to update citizens on progress of this previously approved project. These presentations were specifically designed to keep the residents informed so there would be no surprises about the final agreements to reconstruct rather than just renovate, apply for and accept a state grant of $9.4 million and the projected cost to carry out the construction.  

For a small margin of voters, at 11pm, to irrevocably reject the project in motion without a complete understanding of the financial consequences of reverting to full renovation to meet current building and fire codes, the timeline to do so, the loss of state funding, and the net loss to the residents by simply maintaining the current capacity of the library is not in the best economic interest of tax payers. 

Sincerely,

Luanne Crosby
Westborough