On June 14 citizens of Falmouth will have a choice to make on Question 1, a decision on a plan that costs a minimum of $5.65 million.
Last August, the Town Council reviewed seven options for developing this town center and settled on the most expensive. Question 1 no longer includes the Town Hall, but still features a non-essential, expensive library move. For starters, a library is not the essence of a town center. Furthermore, there is the near-term future of our economy and the long-term future of libraries to consider.
We are entering an inflationary economic cycle. The financing plan allows up to 4.5 years to raise money during which time building costs will increase greatly. I do not trust the cost projections. Many will be struggling just to tread water in their personal lives. The plan’s underlying assumption is the emergence from the recession in a robust way.
My second concern is the future of libraries. They will bear little resemblance to those of our past. As e-books overtake printed media as the preferred reading mode, libraries will require much less space and overhead. A library is not the essence of a town center.
I oppose Question 1 on the grounds of fiscal responsibility. There is no justification for the library to move and double in size. It is folly to sit on empty buildings for 4.5 years. It’s time to circle the wagons a bit. Let’s separate our needs and wants.