Letter: Misplaced priorities at the library

To the Editor:
The town’s library has applied for and received a CT state grant, plus an anonymous donation enabling them to build a rooftop patio. Sounds nice, but wait, there’s more, they still need a 3.6% increase in funding from the town to cover increase operating costs. It’s amazing to me that this Democratically-led, financially cash strapped state, which demands new taxes and tolls to fund roads and other critical needs, somehow has the money to fund unnecessary projects, such as rooftop patios for libraries, instead of paying down its pension obligations. It is yet another classic example of how Democrats manage “other people’s money,” forcing taxpayers to carry the burden of their mismanagement of the state’s finances that is driving away retirees and businesses.
You might say this is of no financial concern to Ridgefield taxpayers as this project is fully funded, but is it? Our Board of Finance needs to insist on a 10-year financial impact study so that we know the maintenance cost of this added structure. Rooftop structures are notorious for high maintenance and risk of failure, resulting in leaks which could damage the library’s collection. You also must wonder about the library’s misplaced priorities that are focused on soliciting donations for onetime expenses that add to the long-term operating expense, placing further burden on the town. The library’s efforts would be better spent on a capital campaign to increase its endowment and reduce its annual financial ask of the town. Our finance board should deny this budget increase request until the library agrees to stop its plans for the rooftop patio. Furthermore, they should instruct the Library Board to set a goal to raise its endowment so that within 10 years it would no longer require any funding from the town and its taxpayers.
Peter Vanderminden
Arrowhead Place, Feb. 22