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Fin/Com Chairman Calls for Library to be Abandoned

by Bobby Blair
December 10, 2018

Selectman John Cronin Monday night reported that the multi-town selectmen's meeting held recently in Medway had expressed concerns about new legislation which would cut funding for local cable. Cronin also noted that Medway was interested in expanding their trail to Holliston's rail trail.

Shelly Stormo above representing Pharmacannis a grower of marijuana and located on Hopping Brook Road told board members that her company is presently working out of a trailer and hopefully will have their 50,000 square foot building completed early next year. Citing figures based on the Town's 3% take from their operation Stormo said that in the first year the town could reap $326,567. She also projected out -- year 2, $569,250; year 3, $946,322; year 4, $848,796; and year 5, $653,760.

Finance Chairman Ken Szajda above brought selectmen guidelines for the 2020 ensuing fiscal year. Szajda said that his committee has suggested an increase of 1.5% the same as last year with the exception of non-bargaining employees who would be given a suggested leeway of 2.5%. Selectman John Cronin questioned Szajda concerning what his board (the selectmen) could do regarding articles placed on the town meeting warrant. Szajda had been critical that  there were things on the recent warrant that his committee never got to review -- "We rejected articles as we never saw them." Szajda also laid out a timeline for warrant articles to be reviewed by the Fin/Com

Selectman Mark Ahronian suggested to Szajda that the Town was in need of a maintenance program of two to three employees which prompted a discussion about the recent roof problems at the library. Szajda noted that the library "should be abandoned, we're throwing good money after bad. The parking is on private property and it's (library) not suitable for the 21st century."  Szajda compared the proposed spending of over 8 million dollars to renovate the former Flagg School and the purchase of the 1750 Building for voer 1.5 million as prudent spending of town funds. Many of the former town departments at the Flagg School are now housed at the 1750 Building.

 

 

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Comments (6)

I LOVE the idea of abandoning the current Library. It could open up development to a new business, while at the same time could provide a means to update the library to modernize it. The fact is that while our library and its staff do a magnificent job in staying as current as they can, it simply is not sustainable for the future. In short it is maxed out and in a new facility it could provide tons of capabilities that the current library simply cannot. Also the parking is really odd that they have to rely on the private parking behind it. So I'm all for it.

- Mark Whittaker | 12/11/18 4:48 PM

I love our little library, but only because of the great staff. Holliston needs, and deserves, a bigger, more modern library. Abandoning this building, at a reasonable time in the future, and perhaps selling the lot or repurposing the building for town use, ought to be given serious consideration. There is a State agency, the Board of Library Commissioners, that offers Planning and Design grants and Construction grants for local libraries. https://mblc.state.ma.us/programs-and-support/construction/planning-and-design.php This might be a good place to begin.

- Ginny Keniry | 12/11/18 4:06 PM

Lets put yet band aid on something that needs to be fixed. Great idea!

- S. Brown | 12/11/18 11:48 AM

I'm again confused by FinCom reasoning about budget increases. If a department is allowed a 1.5% increase, but must meet mandated rate table increases of 2.5%, and if a significant portion of a department budget is in personnel covered by the table, it is in fact a cut in the budget. Unless the FinCom proposes that the 1.5% budget increment is provided after allowing full funding for mandated increments for personnel?

- Kevin Robert Malone | 12/11/18 11:17 AM

Bobby, I'd like to clarify two things. First, the Fincom voted guideline is 1.5% budget growth for all departments. The 2.5% is the cost of living adjustment for employees covered by the town's wage table. Second, my point about Flagg was that there was a proposal to renovate the building for $8.2 million. The town instead purchased a new building for $1.2 million. Even factoring in demolition costs for Flagg and renovation at 1750 Washington the town saved millions of dollars. In the case of the library, the building site is currently not suitable for a library and can never be suitable because of lot constraints. Last night I was merely pointing out that we (as a town) need to start considering alternatives.

- Ken Szajda | 12/11/18 10:01 AM

I think abandoning the library is a bit drastic. It's centrally located and there's plenty of parking in the area (maybe even more if the Green St building becomes a public lot). Let's see what the repairs accomplish, and what the prognosis is first. I haven't been following the costs of the repairs as closely as Mr. Szjada, but I'm willing to bet that a good repair job will cost a lot less than a new library.

- Peter Simpson | 12/11/18 9:57 AM

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