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Facilities work impacts Peterborough budget

  • Select Board members Ed Juengst, Barbara Miller and Chair Tyler Ward discuss the budget on Tuesday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Library Director Corinne Chronopoulos presents the library budget on Tuesday during a meeting of the Select Board and Budget Committee. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Facilities improvements are expected to be budget drivers for the town’s Recreation Department and Library, directors told the Budget Committee and Select Board.

The two boards heard preliminary budget presentations for both departments during a joint meeting on Tuesday. Both costs and revenues for the two departments are expected to be up this year. 

 

Recreation Department

This year, the Recreation Department is requesting a budget of $553,087, Director Jeff King explained to the joint Select Board and Budget Committee during their meeting on Tuesday. That number represents an increase over last year’s budget of $539,975, but the majority of that increase is expected to be covered by an increase in expected revenue from selling stickers to out-of-town residents for the use of the Cunningham Pond beach, a practice which began last summer and brings in an additional $10,000 in revenue for the department.

“Last year, we had no issues with overuse of the pond, and actually, residents, when we asked them, didn’t notice a difference,” said King. “The parking lot was never full.”

Last year, the town offered 100 out-of-town beach passes for sale. Thirteen people have already bought passes for the coming year, said King, and he expects to sell all or almost all of those passes.

The Recreation Department has included in its budget several facilities projects, said King, including repainting the pool, putting a new roof on the recreation offices and putting in a new floor and replacing the windows in the gym. 

Painting the pool and replacing the roof of the offices is a request that was put off last year, said King, but still need to be done.

“They’re not going to go away,” said King.

Though the pool was redone in 2013, the caustic nature of chlorine wears away the paint, which should be redone every five years or so, said King. The cost is estimated at $7,000 for that job. 

The office roof has not been replaced since the building was built in 1992, and the department has been dealing with several leaks. 

The gym windows need to be replaced, said King, as they have asbestos in the frames, making it impossible to properly repair them if they break or crack. Replacing all the windows is estimated to cost $16,500.

The Recreation Department is also looking to expend money from the Isabelle F. Miller Fund, which is used specifically to support new recreation department programs, to purchase a new gym floor.

 

Library of the Future

The biggest request from the Peterborough Public Library this year will be a warrant article requesting that the town bond up to $3 million to supplement the library’s major renovation. 

The total cost of that renovation is $8.5 million, the remainder of which is expected to be raised in grants and private donations. The library has already secured $3.6 million of that in pledges.

When asked how the library planned to make up the remaining $1.9 million needed to complete the project, Library Director Corinne Chronopoulos explained that the library would be pursuing at least three more large grants in the coming year, including a Public Utilities Commission grant for $200,000, a Land and Community Heritage Investment Program grant for $250,000 and a Community Development Finance Authority grant for $250,000.

In addition to that, said Chronopoulos, the library has heard from several potential key donors who will not commit to a gift until after public approval at Town Meeting in May. 

The library’s budget is also expected to be up considerably, as a result of a side effect of the construction, which is expected to start in late 2018: Moving the library to a new location for the duration. Chronopoulos said that the library has a verbal agreement to rent two floors of the Guernsey building on Main Street.

The library budget is proposed this year at 941,351, an increase of more than $280,000 over last year. Chronopoulos said that number mainly reflected the cost of renting the Guernsey building and moving costs, which would be one-time expenses for this year. 

While revenue expenses are also expected to be up significantly, the net change for the library budget is still expected to be in the area of $72,266, or an 18 percent increase.

 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.