It's back to the drawing board in Boxford, where Town Meeting voters Tuesday failed to support debt exclusions - property tax increases for a period of years until debt is paid off - that would have paved the way for a new library and senior center.
Supporters of a plan to build a new library on 20,000 square feet of land in Boxford's historic district failed to gain the two-thirds vote required to have the measure added to this year’s town election ballot.
The debt exclusion would have funded $470,000 for a design plan for a new building with an estimated cost between $6 million and $8.5 million. The state would have contributed $2.5 million in grant money for the new library.
Some argued for downsizing the project, but that would have made the town ineligible to receive the state grant. The Historic District Commission, which oversees the exterior of all buildings within the historic district, argued that the new library would change the character of the East Village area. The vote was 239 against and 161 in favor of the library proposal.
The town also failed to gain the votes necessary to authorize the treasurer to borrow $250,000 for planning and all other related expenses to design and permit the renovation and expansion of the building located at 188 Washington St. for a new senior center. The Town Meeting tally was 116 against and 93 in favor.
In Topsfield, residents voted in favor of a $130,059 permanent override to cover general government and school operating expenses at the town election May 7.
The tax increase, which will add $60 to the average tax bill annually, had previously been approved at Town Meeting.
- David Cogger
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