REPUBLICANS: THE PARTY OF YES AND KNOW
BOOTH & DIMMOCK LIBRARY
Library Expansion Project - $566,000 over the amount approved at referendum
YES. it was the Republican led Council that brought the Library renovation and expansion project to referendum at a cost of $1.7m – with just $850k to Coventry taxpayers because of the $850,000 State Library matching grant. This was over 5 years after Lisa Thomas, the prior Town Council Chairwoman, presented what she described as a complete and vetted proposed Library project at $6.7 m in November 2015 at the first meeting of the new Republican led Town Council. Lisa Thomas asked that the $6.7m project be brought to referendum. The Democrats continued to push the project and saw the Library project failed to pass at referendum at a cost of $5.4m in 2017 and again by 2 to 1 in a referendum in 2018, when they supported it as a $4.9m project. Republicans right sized this project and maximized the use of the State Library grant while minimizing Coventry taxpayers’ costs and brought a very conservative project to the taxpayers for them to decide whether to move forward or not.
We KNOW under the democrat led Town Council the cost of this project has ballooned to $2,266,319. This is $566,000 more than Coventry taxpayers approved and includes an additional $271,000 more of taxpayers’ funds – WITH NO INPUT from our taxpayers. There are
ongoing projects to add parking spaces and upgrade the HVAC which will increase these numbers.
Library Sales Agreement
YES. Republicans fought hard to prevent Lisa Thomas and the Democrat Council from entering into a terribly flawed Sales Agreement with the Library Board, to facilitate the sale of the Library to the Town.
We KNOW Lisa Thomas and the Democrat Council signed the sales agreement, with the Library Board, that has given the unelected Library Board, and not the Town Council, the right to dictate how the Library will be run going forward. They also gave, the unelected Library Board the right to take Coventry into Court, if THEY are not satisfied with budget that the Town Council approves, and then the Library Board can take back possession of the building. The prior Republican led Council had been developing a new agreement, with the Library Board,that would have protected the Town and our taxpayers. The new agreement was not completed prior to the 2021 election. Lisa Thomas, and the new Democrat majority Council, completely ignored the previous Council’s work and concerns and those of our current Republican members of the Council. They stubbornly refused to make necessary changes to the 2018 Purchase and Sale agreement, that was associated with the failed Library expansion referendum in 2018. The Town Attorney told the Town Council that they certainly could make any changes they wished prior to signing this agreement. Lisa Thomas and the Democrat Council ignored all warnings and criticism and signed the agreement. The Democrats supported this special interest group (Library Board) over future Coventry Town Councils and abandoned our taxpayers’ interests.
The Library Renovation and Expansion Project - History
The Library Renovation and Expansion Project has a rocky history in Coventry. It was originally proposed in 2015, by the democrat led Town Council with Lisa Thomas as Chairwoman, with a price tag of $6,700,000.
That amount was eventually reduced to $5,400,000 when the project was brought to a referendum and was SOUNDLY defeated in 2018.
The project cost was reduced slightly to $4,900,000 and was brought to a referendum and was defeated by more than 2 to 1.
In support of a Library Renovation project, the State Library Board had awarded Coventry an $850,000 matching grant. To fully realize the value of the grant, Coventry had to spend an additional $850,000 on the project.
In 2020, Republicans brought a conservative proposal for the Library’s renovation and expansion to referendum for taxpayers to let them decide whether the project should move forward. The $1.7m project maximized the value of the $850,000 State Library grant with the additional price tag of $850,000 from taxes.
The 2020 referendum passed – barely, by less than 25 votes.
Coventry taxpayers approved spending $1,700,000 (including the $850,000 grant) on this project.
Under the democrat led Town Council the cost of this project has ballooned to $2,266,319. This is $566,000 more than Coventry taxpayers approved and includes an additional $271,000 more of taxpayers’ funds – WITH NO INPUT from our taxpayers. There are ongoing projects to add parking spaces and upgrade the HVAC which will increase these numbers.
Referendum Approval $1,700,000
Bond funds $850,000
Library grant $850,000
Additional Taxpayer funds $271,486
ARPA funds* $218,500
Bond Premium** $52,986
Spent as of 9/5/23 $2,136,480
Outstanding Encumbrances $129,840
Adding Additional Parking Spaces ?
HVAC over budget ?
? additional projects
Expenditures to date $2,266,320
Spending approved at referendum $1,700,000
Project overruns $566,320 (plus ongoing projects)
*ARPA funds are taxpayers” money. The US Treasury removed the regulations and restrictions for how these funds could be spent. These funds could have been spent on any other project or activity to benefit Coventry taxpayers.
**Bond Premiums are taxpayers” money. Bond premiums can be spent to reduce the annual payment(s) for bonds or on another project.