Sunapee: Voters Approve Borrowing To Build New Library
Audrey Wenger, 4, of Sunapee, gives a high-five to Clifford the Big Red Dog (played by Sunapee Library Director Mary Danko) under a canopy outside the Sherburne Gymnasium yesterday. Danko and other supporters of the effort to build a new library were campaigning in support of the bond issue all day. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »
Sunapee Moderator Harry Gale wears a tie with decades of political pins. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »
Sunapee — By a slim margin, voters yesterday approved a $975,000 article during Town Meeting ballot voting that will help finance the construction of a new 8,000-square-foot library.
The 601-380 vote achieved the required 60 percent majority by 12 votes.
“I just want to thank the Sunapee voters who came out and supported this project,” Abbott Library Trustee Terri Jillson White said last night. “This will allow us to have a great library in our community.”
Voters handily passed all the other articles on the town and school warrants, with the exception of a $270,000 request to renovate and enlarge the art room at the high school. It failed, 533-413.
In the only contested race, incumbent Selectboard members Fred Gallup, 697 votes, and Emma Smith, 515, defeated Veronica Hastings, 362, for two three-year seats on the board.
Article 14, which allocates $55,000 to help compensate firefighters at Sunapee’s all-volunteer fire department, was approved, 542-361. Firefighters currently receive a token $1 an hour, a figure set way back in 1904 and never changed. Fire Chief Dan Ruggles said the additional compensation will encourage firefighters to get more training and increase their certification.
Both the town and school budgets passed, as did all the zoning articles.
Last year, voters rejected the $975,000 bond issue to help finance construction of the proposed $2.7 million library. But a related article for $1.7 million that drew money from a capital reserve fund and a capital campaign fund along with private donations was approved last year, leaving the project with a gap of nearly $1 million until the article was approved this time around.
Library Trustee Peter Urbach has said that about $900,000 in cash and pledges has already been raised toward the goal of $1.3 million in private donations. The property, on the corner of Sargent Road and Route 11, has already been purchased.
Nine separate articles also passed that add to existing capital reserve funds, including $115,000 for fire equipment; $137,300 for highway and transfer station equipment, and $25,000 each for town bridges, town buildings and the Conservation Commission passed, as did Article 13, appropriating $200,000 for the 2013 paving program.
Town Manager Donna Nashawaty had estimated the town tax rate will increase 34 cents per $1,000 and increase town taxes on a $300,000 property by $102 to $981. The library bond tax impact would not be felt until next year.
White said last night that library officials will ask the architect to complete the plans. “Our goal is to start construction this summer,” she said.
A three-year teachers contract, with the first-year cost increase of $115,794, was approved.
Articles to add $25,000 to the special education reserve fund and $50,000 for engineering for a proposed road from the elementary school to the new safety complex also passed.