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Progress of new library and surplus

July 11, 2013

For all those who are wondering what the status of the new library construction project is, and what the status of the surplus is, take a look at this memo sent to all Permanent Building Committee, Finance Committee, and Board of Selectmen members by Assistant Town Administrator Jim Johnson on Tuesday.

The project remains technically unfinished, because of a number of items, as outlined in the memo. However the town has already budgeted for these items and likely will not be on the hook for much more money.

The memo centers around a number of unfinished pieces of the project, all issues that need to be addressed by the contractors responsible for the construction and accessories to the building.

The memo also indicates that the final construction grant payment from the Mass. Board of Library Commissioners was supposed to be $389,619. This amount turned out to be only $29,918, a difference of $359,701, because of the reduced cost of the project total. In total, the town received only $3,536,484 in construction funds from the MBLC. This grant was originally tabbed at $3.9 million in total (look at the bright side – the state saved some money and probably did the right thing here. In fact, I wouldn’t blame them if they had reduced their grant even more to match the total surplus of the entire project.)

The memo indicates that the surplus from the project is around $900,000, give or take.

Walpole Town Administrator Michael Boynton told Selectmen at their July 2 meeting that he determined the surplus money can not be directly returned to taxpayers through a reduction in their property tax bills over the time of the 20-year bond. Instead, the money has to be used for future debt exclusion projects in town. This could include a new police station, senior center, fire station, or other facility.

The town also netted $215,000 from the sale of the old Walpole Library. That money can be used for capital projects only.

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