The New Jesse M. Smith Memorial Library
"Cornerstone of the Community"

27 October 2006

Vital Statistics

This being an election year, all sorts of numbers are being thrown around. Some are baloney. And some important numbers are -- conveniently -- omitted from the paid political ads and campaign propaganda.

Here are some real numbers, verifiable by public records available for all to see at Town Hall:

-- The new library is estimated to cost $8.8 million, NOT ``the conservative figure of $12.6 million'' claimed by one complaining candidate. And the $8.8 million includes not only the library building, but also furnishing, moving expenses, landscaping -- and roads, parking, and water, electrical and sewer service for the entire Stillwater Mill complex.

-- The Complaining Candidate criticizes the library project now -- but in May, he wanted to make money off it. He bid $250,000 to be Clerk of the Works. His campaign treasurer and housemate wanted some tax dollars, too, and she bid $240,000. The Building Committee did the proper and legal thing and awarded the contract to the lowest qualified bidder -- for $83,600 less than the complaining candidate's bid.

-- The cost of site remediation is pegged at $745,000, NOT the ``millions'' claimed by The Complaining Candidate. Where does he get his numbers? Certainly not from the records of the Building Committee, which, as noted, are public and available for all to see.

-- Voters approved a $5-million bond to help fund the project. The state will reimburse most of that, and millions more in grants and contributions have been received. And so the average cost to a taxpayer over 20 years is $15.47 a year -- less than a nickel a day! Considering that the library anchors a project that will turn a blighted part of the center of town into a great neighborhood, including a new senior center, we call that a bargain.

-- And that's what Senator Jack Reed (along with Lincoln Chafee and many other leaders) recognized when he said at the groundbreaking: ``Today, we’re celebrating what you’ve done – investing in your future while relying on the proud traditions of the past. This library will not be just a place for book collections. It will be the heart and soul of the community.''

-- Finally, not a number, but a suggestion. Please check out ace Clerk-of-the-Works Dan Joubert's weekly Site Reports, which read almost like an unfolding book about the progress we're making. The photos are cool, too! Visit the Smith Library Site Report Page: