Library bond defeated in Weathersfield
By Patrick O’Grady
Correspondent | March 06,2014
WEATHERSFIELD — At town meeting Tuesday, voters defeated a $1.3 million bond article to expand the 112-year-old Proctor Library, re-elected two Select Board members and passed the town and school budgets.
The bond for the library, which would have more than doubled the usable space, was defeated 365-302.
Ernie Shand, chairman of the library trustees, said Tuesday night he couldn’t pinpoint a reason for the defeat but believes supporters will come back next year and try again.
“One of the first things I thought of was to do more fundraising,” Shand said.
The trustees had raised about $53,000 and pledged to continue with the effort to bring down the overall cost to taxpayers.
“I heard more people say we did a good job presenting it (Monday night) and it changed some minds,” Shand said. “People who were against don’t tell you why. We will just have to work on it again.”
At Monday night’s informational meeting, residents expressed mixed views with some saying a library is an essential piece to any community and Proctor Library, built in 1902, is in dire need of more space. Others thought the cost was too high and work could be done to bring it down.
The library bond was one of four articles defeated on the combined town and school warnings with 16 articles. Voters also turned down an $18,000 loan toward the purchase of a police cruiser by a vote of 338-329. Article 18, asking for $5,000 to be deposited in the police cruiser reserve fund, lost 348-311. Article 20, asking for $800 for a Weathersfield Directory of businesses, was voted down 357-261.
Select Board Chairman Dan Boyer defeated business owner Mike Todd, 300-288, for a three-year board seat and in the only other contested race on the ballot, Selectman John Arrison received 239 votes while Charles Horton recieved 214 and Lynn Esty received 178 for a two-year seat.
The town budget of $1.22 million passed, 411-253, and the school budget was approved, 387-279. Voters also passed Article 5 on the school warning, 377-289, to raise $45,000 toward the purchase of a new school bus.
The town budget and separate appropriations are expected to add just fewer than 4 cents to the town tax rate, bringing it to around 60 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, and the residential school tax rate will also rise a little less than 4 cents from just less than $1.66 to nearly $1.70. Combined, the approved spending would add less than $160 a year in taxes on a property valued at $200,000.
Also approved easily was the highway budget of $1 million, $160,000 toward the purchase of a new grader, $115,000 for a truck/snowplow, $231,000 for the solid-waste budget and money for three reserve funds for fire apparatus, highway maintenance and future acquisition of highway maintenance and repair equipment.
Incumbents Nate McKeen and Sandra S. Dockum along with Robin H. Tindall were elected to the School Board in uncontested races.
Turnout amounted to 670 voters, or 32 percent of the town’s 2,062 registered voters.