June 25, 2008

State may help pay for library repairs

The state may pick up more than $30,000 worth of maintenance costs for the city’s two libraries.
Library Director Francine Petosa said that a state program for “distressed communities” will pay for a third of the cost for expanding existing library space or maintaining libraries.
With several major repairs needed at the Manross branch in Forestville that will total about $100,000, the city’s Board of Finance agreed this week to try to secure state help for the projects.
The most pressing need is to fix a leaking roof at Manross that is currently covered with a tarp, officials said.
With a 21-year-old roof on the building, the repair is only buying time for the city to replace the entire roof, officials said, but there’s no choice about doing it.
“The need is still going to exist” whether the city tries to snag state cash to help or not, Mayor Art Ward said.
Petosa said there isn’t any danger that the leak will damage books or other materials, but she said she is concerned that other problems could develop that might pose a threat.
The complication with seeking state aid is that project may be delayed into the second half of next year, officials said, in order to line up the required approvals from the State Library and the State Bond Commission.
The roof, at least, may have to be dealt with sooner than that.
But the other two projects at Manross – resurfacing the lower parking lot and retrofitting three parking lot lights – can wait for a green light from the state, Petosa said.
Petosa has to apply for the maintenance money by August 29. The city should hear in November whether the State Library agrees to pay a portion of the cost.
If the state backs the spending, the city would include its share in the next municipal budget so that it can be done after July 1, 2009, which allows time for the bond commission to take action as well.

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

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