The Bass Harbor Memorial Library will be expanded, pending approval at town meeting. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Library funds go to vote

TREMONT — Voters at the May annual town meeting are to decide whether selectmen should approve of the spending of funds for the expansion and renovation of the Bass Harbor Memorial Library.

The library’s board of trustees requested an article be placed on the town meeting warrant that would allow them to use funds from the library capital reserve account for the project. The library cannot spend money for unbudgeted repairs and expansion projects without town meeting approval. The aim of the trustees’ request was to allow them to withdraw funds as needed and not have to wait until the annual town meeting or go through the process of scheduling a special town meeting.

Responsibility for raising money for the project falls on the library.

“Our goal is not to use tax money,” said Mike Hays, the library’s treasurer. “If we can’t raise the money, we won’t go forward with the expansion.”

Selectmen had no issues with the library having ready access to the money but, following the suggestion of Chairman Kathi Thurston, decided to take another approach. Thurston said a reserve account could be set up that would give oversight by the Board of Selectmen while fostering more timely access to the funds by the library.

“I just think it would be easier for you,” Thurston told Hays.

Selectmen would have to approve of the library’s use of the funds, but because they meet on a regular basis, consideration of a request for funds would be more immediate.

Hays agreed with the proposal.

“We’ll work within that framework,” he said.

Town Manager Dana Reed is to draft an article for the May town meeting warrant asking voters to approve creation of a reserve account for the library construction project.

The library is in the planning stages for the expansion and has hired an architect to develop a concept plan. The project gained Planning Board approval in August.

Plans call for a 768-square-foot addition onto the southwest corner of the historic structure. Along with the children’s room, which would occupy most of the space, the addition is to have a meeting room and a smaller room for staff use.

The Bass Harbor Memorial Library is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Designed in the Colonial Revival style by Charles Lawson, the original brick structure was built in 1922.



Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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