Seekonk Voters Reject Library Funding, Approve $63M Town Budget
The Seekonk Public Library renovation project, which was to cost $19.6 million, was rejected by voters at Monday’s Spring Town Meeting. Town Moderator Peter Hoogerzeil said the warrant article failed to get the two-thirds needed for approval. There were 210 ‘yes’ votes and 117 ‘no’ votes. The funds were to be used for the construction, renovation, and expansion of the current facility at 410 Newman Avenue. The money would also have covered the costs for demolition, landscaping, paving, utility, and architectural and engineering services. The library was awarded a Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners capital grant of $7.3 Million to offset the costs of the project. The grant would have paid for 37 percent of the total project costs. The Seekonk Library Trust had pledged to raise $1,000,000 to further offset costs.
Michael Durkay, the chairperson of the Library’s Board of Trustees, said the library had “outlived the needs of its patrons.” “It’s not just a question of renovation, it’s a question of what the community needs, what the community is looking for in a library,” Durkay added. Selectman David Andrade, who was opposed to the library funding, said the project could be revisited in the future, noting that now was not the right time due to the other ongoing building projects in town.
The $63 Million budget for the 2022 fiscal year was approved, along with the appropriation of $1.5 million to pay for the cost of designing, planning, and construction of a new Department of Public Works facility on land owned by the town at 351 Fall River Avenue. Voters also approved $2.7 million to fund the construction and renovation of the Seekonk Connolly Field and Mooney Track at Seekonk High School.