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

03 November 2006

The Complaining Candidate

Once again, The Complaining Candidate has his facts wrong.

This person, who wanted to be Clerk of the Works until his bid came in way too high (see below), claims in a recent paid political ad (Bargain Buyer, p. 60, Nov. 1, 2006) that ``your current council gave 2.4 million dollars earmarked for road repairs to the library project.''


We knew that, of course, but since we hold to facts, we checked for written confirmation in the minutes of the two Town Council meetings at which financing of the library was discussed and acted on: Nov. 28, 2005, and June 28, 2006. Our memory was right. Never happened. The Public Record, available for all to see, confirms it.

The Complaining Candidate's latest ad also talks about ``cost overruns such as happened with the library project.'' Wrong again. The project is currently keeping to its $8.8 million budget. Public records on file at Town Hall confirm this, too.

Perhaps The Complaining Candidate refers to the fact that voters in 2004 approved a $5 million bond for a library that is now projected to cost more. Yes, the new library IS costing more than the earliest estimates. And there's a valid explanation. The original estimates came from a library-needs study completed several years ago, when the location for the new building was yet to be determined. The estimate was for a building on a clean site. But we do not have a clean site, and the costs of cleansing a 150-year-old industrial wasteland have added to the overall figures.

Also, costs of materials -- notably steel -- have gone up in the years since the first projections. That's called inflation, an unfortunate but real fact in our economy. It's the same reason you can't buy a new car for 10 grand anymore or a gallon of gas for a dollar. One would think that a construction worker and car owner would understand that.

But most importantly, the costs have gone up because with creative thinking and visionary leadership the library has evolved into the centerpiece of the entire Stillwater complex, including a community center. What will we get for $8.8 million? A state-of-the-art library, a Riverwalk, and roads, parking, landscaping, lighting, and utilities for the entire area. And many of those costs, as we have noted, are being reimbursed from outside sources. And more outside money is expected. We expect a major announcement in two weeks, stay tuned.

And there is a ``hidden'' savings that doesn't get much ink. That's the fact that, as noted in the current edition of the Burrillville Bugle, once the new library opens the town will use the existing building for municipal offices. That means the town, which badly needs more space, will not have to build a new Town Hall or annex.

We really have better things to do than respond to false information -- build a library, for example -- but we believe that taxpayers and voters deserve the truth. This project is too important for everyone in Burrillville to be tainted by The Complaining Candidate's paid political ads -- ads that are subjected to no independent confirmation. You buy your ad, you write the copy, even if it's wrong.

After all, you paid for it.