Norwell Special Town Meeting overwhelmingly approved a new $15.4 million public library to replace the aging and out of code 43 year old 8,500 square foot building with a state-of-the-art 20,800 square foot one-story, energy efficient structure designed to be LEED Silver Standard certified.
Norwell Voters Approve New Public Library with a total price tag of $15.4 Million
Norwell Special Town Meeting voters on December 4, 2017 approved the $15.4 million debt exclusion override project with 506 voting in the affirmative and 61 against. The 567 town meeting members that attended were both young and old, of which three residents spoke in support and no residents spoke against the spending measure, the largest since the public school renovation measure in 2001. The Special Town Meeting for the measure required a two thirds approval to move on to the polls, as this was a two step approval process. On the following Saturday, December 9, 2017, Norwell voters headed to the Special Election at the polls and again approved the measure with 1,118 voting in the affirmative and 345 voting against, giving the motion a 76.42% approval.
The Town of Norwell will receive a $6.4 Million public library grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
The new Norwell public library with a total cost to taxpayers is $15.4 million, but the town has been awarded a $6.4 million public library grant through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts public library construction program, which will reduce the total project cost to taxpayers in the amount of $8.6 million. Of that amount, $100,000 has already been expended for the feasibility study and approximately $300,000 will be used from the existing Library Trust Fund. Another purported $1,000,000 may come from a capital campaign fund through solicited donations. Of note, there is also a 5% contingency fee per year for the next three years in case construction costs increase significantly, which is likely due to marketplace trends in the public building sector.
Norwell Officials Unanimously Vote in Favor of Spending Measure
According to the Norwell Board of Selectman, the Norwell Advisory Board and the Library Trustees, who all voted in favor of adopting the spending measure, the vote essentially came down to financial sensibility due to the fact that the existing 43 year old library was in need of $4 to $6 million dollars in updates and repairs if it were to remain operation and meet State codes. According to Library officials, they have seen a 250% increase in program attendance and use at the library with over 70,00 in-person library visits.
The New Norwell Public Library will be State-of-the-Art and LEED Silver Standard Certified
The new modern Norwell public library will feature 20,800 square feet of functional space including a large meeting room for 120 people with a kitchen, plus 4 small meeting rooms, a local history room, a 3,000 square foot children’s room, a technology lab, and a teen room. According to Town officials, many of the rooms can and will be used by Town committees at night and after hours accessed by a separate entrance. The parking lot will be increased from 28 vehicles to 68.
Town Officials Estimate Debt Exclusion Override for Average Assessed Home
According to Town of Norwell officials, the average 2017 assessed home valued at $600,000 is estimated to see an average tax bill increase starting in fiscal 2020 of approximately $33.84 and increase to $209.72 in fiscal 2021, with slight decreases each year thereafter, with the last payment average of $105.44 in the year 2040. Keep in mind that these estimates are approximate and can change based on increased or decreased assessment values, changes in construction costs and or the estimated bond rate of 4.50%.