‘The project could be a financial boondoggle’


Letter to the Editor logoDear Editor,

The Monkey’s Paw is a short story where three wishes are granted to the owner. It seems like a blessing, but each wish comes with unintended consequences. The protagonists scheme to make the perfect wish to outsmart fate, but each wish leads to worsening consequences.

Westborough’s Monkey’s Paw is the $9M grant we must accept through the MPLCP (Massachusetts Libraries Board of Library Commissioners) before January.

The pressure to accept this grant has caused panicked behavior. A scheme was created by leveraging legal loopholes to force the town into a hefty expense to host a special town meeting.

The project could be a financial boondoggle. Funding a project during an inflationary period could be catastrophic. A severe recession is expected which will impact the tax base. Rising costs and not enough tax revenue could leave the project a construction site instead of a beautiful building. The eye sore will put extra pressure on property values that would already be in free fall from a recession.

It is an unfair burden to anyone on fixed incomes, especially some of our elderly population who struggle to remain in the town. The project may only cost $4 a day for residents, but true hardship means $4 a day is the difference between a meal or nothing.

Pressure causes people to make bad decisions. Anyone who has dealt with an aggressive sales person has felt anxiety and fear to make the wrong decision. The sales person only shows you the shiny new object, but the devil is in the details.

What is in the contract for our town to receive the grant? I fear our wish for the shiny new object is making us miss the fine print and potential consequences. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Are we ceding decision making power for our library and what could that mean?

In The Monkey’s Paw the family has big dreams for their wishes. They scheme to make the perfect wish, but in the end, the blessing is the curse.

Farah Aldrin