Upon reading the opinion article in the Jan. 17, 2014 issue of The Journal, "Prelude to Town Meeting," it was unfortunate that the Mark Skinner Library Board of Trustees was requesting more money from the property taxpayers of Manchester. The request of $198,000, $44,800 more than last year indicating it will cost the taxpayer of a $323,000 property approximately $13 more. That taxpayer is already paying $45.50 now; with the increase they will be paying $58.50.
In this economy we should be looking to reduce, not increase, our expenditures. When the library first approached the town for money in 2003 it was for $62,700, approximately $15 per person out of a town population of about 4,000 people. Now it is approximately three times as much or $45 per person, about a 20 percent increase per year from 2003 to 2014.
It was and still is necessary for the town to give financial support to the library to qualify for grant money. A $100,000 town appropriation would indicate an amount of $25 per person based on a 4,000 population is a reasonable amount.
Those who would like the library to receive more can individually donate more. The library has an endowment fund; this also is for their use; bank loan, another alternative; fundraising, sale or rental of current building, etc.
All this we know. Perhaps we should look for more volunteers to help out at the library.
The decision of building the new Manchester Community Library was not ours, it was the library's board of trustees, as was the size and the design. It is assumed they built within their means. Maintenance and operating expenses is a big part of ownership. This increase is shocking. For many this is hard to justify. It is not a necessity or a priority. With our economy, the timing is poor for asking for more financial support.
Initially in 2003 the Select Board wanted the library's request of $62,700 to be reduced to $25,000. The select board was then as it is today interested in the library to be independent and not under their management. Money is very important in today's world; the great majority of people seem to be struggling. We must tighten our belts to survive.
Please attend town meeting on Saturday, March 1 at 1 p.m. at MEMS. See you there. Your vote counts. We need to know the projected cost of the Manchester Community Library, the amount of money that was raised for this new library and the amount of money currently and anticipated in the endowment fund.