Proctor Library Gets Second Defeat

Weathersfield — It is back to the drawing board for the Proctor Library Trustees following the second defeat in five months of a bond proposal to expand and renovate the library in Ascutney.

Trustee chairman Ernie Shand said Wednesday that he believes under state law that library officials cannot present another bond proposal for at least a year, meaning that the next logical vote would be late 2015 or Town Meeting Day in 2016.

But in the interim, the board may try to apply for grants and perhaps complete some code compliance work.

The bond lost 399-257 on Tuesday. The 142-vote margin of defeat was more than twice the 63-vote margin in March, when a $1.3 million bond was rejected 365-302.

Shand said a “very organized group” of residents put a lot of work into defeating the $1.1 million proposal. Standing outside Martin Memorial Hall during voting, Shand said he heard a mix of views from supporters while others said they could not afford the taxes and a few thought libraries were “outdated and no longer necessary.”

The actual borrowing would have been for about $900,000 for the addition on the back of the 1902 building and other improvements, Shand said. Of that figure, $300,000 is needed to bring the existing space into compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, including an elevator costing $100,000.

Because another bond vote is more than a year away, Shand said the trustees may apply for a state grant of $75,000 that can be used toward ADA compliance work and the town would need to come up with a 25 percent match. The trustees have raised about $60,000 toward the overall project and another $150,000 has been approved by voters at Town Meeting.

Had it been approved, the project would have increased the usable space from less than 900 square feet to 2,200 square feet.

The basement area would have been renovated, with heat added, and expanded to include a meeting room for up to 30 people.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at pogclmt@gmail.com.