Falmouth library likely to seek referendum on expansion financing

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FALMOUTH — The Falmouth Memorial Library board in the coming weeks is expected to ask the Town Council to hold a voter referendum on borrowing for a proposed library expansion, board President Mark Porada said Tuesday.

The amount of the bond request and the time of a vote remain unclear.

At a June 24 design forum, Scott Simons Architects of Portland revealed a reworked schematic for the proposed expansion that upped the cost from about $5 million to $5.7 million.

The revisions include work that would take place off library property and would “really be to the town’s benefit,” Porada said, including redoing the intersection at Lunt and Depot roads, adding street parking and lighting, and other “public works-type projects.”

“The public generally seemed supportive of it and interested in it and liked the way things were developing,” Porada said.

In May, Porada presented the Town Council a feasibility study conducted by Ovations Fundraising Counsel of Bangor, which found that the library could reasonably expect to raise $2.5 million for the expansion.

Based on the latest schematic, that would leave about $3.2 million for taxpayers to fund. Porada, however, wouldn’t commit to that amount.

“We haven’t exactly determined what our approach to the town will be,” he said, “so I think it’s premature for me to say.”

The library board is tentatively scheduled to meet with the council on July 28, Porada said, although it could be pushed back to August.

“The goal would be to provide the council with an update,” he said. “We haven’t met with them formally since we were there in the springtime, after the feasibility study’s completion. There are a couple new councilors, so we wanted to give them some info and answer any questions they have, and we will presumably at that point be advising the council what our proposal is in terms of how much ought to be financed and when it should be going to the voters for a referendum vote.”

The library is a private nonprofit and not owned by Falmouth, although it receives about three-quarters of its funding from the town.

Brendan Twist can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or btwist@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @brendantwist.