Amherst Town Council adds Library Referendum to November Ballot

Hampshire County

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – At its meeting on Monday, the Amherst Town Council voted 9 to 3 to place the question, should the town council fund the remaining balance, roughly $15.8 million, for the Jones Library renovation project.

On April 5, the Town Council voted to borrow for the expansion and renovation of the Jones Library to fund the remaining $15.8 million of the roughly $35.28 million project.

The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners had given the town a grant of roughly $13.8 million for this project; an additional $5.7 million will be provided through private donations and $1 million was appropriated from the Community Preservation Act funds. All together these contributions fund approximately 55% of the project leaving the remaining 45% of the bill left for the town.

There had been a filed lawsuit brought against the town by a group of voters, the decision of that proceeding would determine if the town was legally required to schedule the vote for a referendum. Many on the Town Council have expressed their hope that by scheduling this vote for November, that the lawsuit will be dropped.

“By taking this action, we hope we will reach a rapid resolution regarding the pending lawsuit. . .While we strongly believe the Town will ultimately prevail in the lawsuit, and the actions of the Town Clerk’s Office and the correct application of the Town’s new Charter will be affirmed, the cost to the taxpayers in defending the Town will continue to grow and uncertainty about the project will remain. We believe it is important to eliminate uncertainty as to the future of this important project and for the Town to move forward as a community.”

Town Council President Lynn Griesemer

A “yes” vote on this question means that the voter agrees with the Council’s vote to fund the Library project while a “no” vote means that voters reject the Council’s vote.

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