September Special Town Meeting to act on Mendon Library Debt Exclusions
By Michelle Sanford Staff Reporter/Columnist · August 07, 2012
The Mendon Board of Selectmen has called for a September 25 Special Town Meeting to take place at Miscoe Hill School beginning at 7 p.m. Two articles on the warrant will concern Proposition 2 ½ debt exclusions; one of which will be to purchase the former St. Michael's property as a new location for the Taft Library and the second article concerns the needed renovations to the building.
During a Special Town Meeting in June, residents voted to pass over the same articles until the Library Trustees and town officials had more time to investigate the St. Michael's purchase and to determine a more definitive figure for the renovations. However, residents did vote in favor of executing a purchase and sale agreement on the property for $5,000.
More than a year ago, St. Michael's merged with Holy Angels Parish to form the new St. Gabriel's in Upton. As a result, the Archdiocese put St. Michael's up for sale. Due to a number of issues with the current Taft Library, the Library Trustees saw an opportunity to purchase the St. Michael's property to eventually develop it into a new Library for the town.
Only 2,000 square feet, the Taft Library lacks adequate space for its collections and has very little parking. The Library Staff does not have sufficient office space and the building is not handicapped accessible.
The price to purchase St. Michael's and its land is $360,000. If the debt exclusion passes, the tax impact to a $300,000 home would be a $9 increase for 20 years; for a $400,000 home it would be $13.
An early estimate of the renovation costs totaled approximately $1.7 million. Renovations will include making the building handicapped accessible. The tax impact to a $300,000 home for the renovations would be an increase of $44 for 20 years; for a $400,000 home, it would be $59. However, the Library Trustees are working to reduce the $1.7 million renovation figure. According to Selectman Chair Mike Ammendolia, the Trustees "are working feverishly to determine a final figure for the renovations."
The Library Trustees also looked into the costs associated with constructing a new library similar in size to St. Michael's on town-owned land and estimate that cost to be $4 million.
If both Library articles pass in September, they must then pass a ballot vote which will take place during the November primary.
The Board of Selectmen officially opened the warrant for the September 25 Town Meeting during a July 23 meeting. Other articles are expected to appear on the warrant.