Op/Ed

Editorial: Taxpayers get great news

ANGELO LYNN

It’s not often any town’s taxpayers get such good news. But that happened recently when the Middlebury selectboard learned the proposed $16.4 million rebuild of Middlebury’s Ilsley Library might be accomplished with a $4.5 million bond vote.

That unlikely math came about as Ilsley officials announced they expect to raise $8 million through private donations, state and federal grants, and private foundation money, leaving $8.5 million for the town to pay. A conversation started by town officials then explored how $280,000 in surplus money from the town’s local option tax per year could finance $4 million of the project’s cost, leaving $4.5 million for taxpayers to pay via a bond.

The $4 million bond is not nothing, but considering the town would be able to rebuild its 100-year-old library for that small amount, it’s an opportunity that should garner the town’s wholehearted support. 

In addition to all the benefits the new library will bring its users, the project would rekindle energy to revitalize the back of the library toward the Otter Creek and Cross Street Bridge — turning a grossly underused area of the downtown into another oasis. To top it off, the National Bank of Middlebury has generously donated use of the lower area of the Duclos Building at 30 Main Street to the library while the new building is being built.

It’s a win-win-win for the library, the town, and taxpayers.

Angelo Lynn

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