Belgrade’s secret ballot voting on referendum questions will be held on Friday, March 15, at the Center for All Seasons. Please vote no on Article 4, which presents the Belgrade Public Library’s proposed budget of $82,094.

The Belgrade community has enjoyed a wonderful resource in the library for many years. Of this, there is no question. There is no criticism of the library’s operation, selections, programs, etc.

However, this budget (nearly double that of 2011) has become excessive. In 2016, a proposal was presented to the Select Board that the library director’s position be made full-time, as the employee had a need for health insurance. That proposal was denied; the town would not put the needs of an individual over limiting taxation of residents for something that is not needed by the town.

However, in 2018, an article to spend an additional $20,990 to make the library director position full-time was put on the ballot and passed by a very slim margin. Concerned residents submitted a petition requesting a re-vote on this full-time/part-time position issue. Not a reversal, but a re-vote. The petition was totally legal with the required number of signatures and submitted in ample time for it to be added to the town warrant. The Select Board rejected the petition; they chose to ignore the request of over 175 registered voters.

This additional expense is for a town of 3,400 residents, with a library building of about 1,900 square feet. As a comparison, Oakland, which has twice as many residents and a much larger library, employs a part-time library director. Other area towns of similar size are open fewer hours — none with a full-time director.

Residents of Belgrade, your vote counts. Please vote on March 15 (or absentee) and defeat this unnecessary expense.

 

Ernest Rice

Belgrade

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