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Library becomes a question for voters; Benoit is named land use officer.

Byline: Ellie Oleson

AUBURN - The town last night moved one step closer to having a new library. Selectmen voted unanimously to place a debt exclusion question to fund the library on the May 15 annual town election ballot.

Joan F. Noonan, library director, said that the debt exclusion would raise the average homeowner's real estate tax bill approximately $101 per year.

"It would raise residential tax bills 39 cents per $1,000 valuation and would raise business tax bills 71 cents per $1,000 valuation, due to classification," Ms. Noonan said.

Town meeting representatives voted Nov. 1 to authorize $12 million for a new library, dependent on a state grant and selectmen placing the question on the ballot.

Ms. Noonan said she hoped to know the exact amount of the state Board of Library Commissioners grant shortly after Jan. 1, but noted that the grant would be at least $3.64 million and could be as much as $4.18 million.

"We have requested a 15 percent increase to $4.18 million, since costs continue to rise since our first estimate," she said, adding that the state Senate Ways and Means Committee is studying a Public Library Construction Bill, which would allocate $100 million for public library construction and increase Auburn's grant.

The proposal is to increase the size of the town library from 14,500 square feet to 39,650 square feet, she said. The number of books and other items would nearly double, from 87,500 to more than 171,000, with about 50 computers replacing the current 13. There would also be 130 seats, up from 60 now available.

In other business, selectmen voted unanimously to send a second letter to the town's contracted trash hauler, Central Mass Disposal Inc. of Auburn, requesting that overfilled residential trash bins not be picked up, unless the overfill is in approved blue town trash bags.

Selectman William M. Gribbons said he has received several complaints from town residents who pay $1 each for the approved overflow bags, then watch as neighbors overfill their trash bins by more than the 6-inch margin allowed and have the extra trash hauled away free.

"What incentive is there to buy bags?" Mr. Gribbons asked, noting that the cost of the blue trash bags pays for the town's "trash overage" at the Wheelabrator Millbury Inc. trash-to-energy plant.

The $1 overflow trash bags have been available in sleeves of five at local grocery stores since July 1, 2005.

Finally, selectmen voted, again unanimously, to appoint land use associate Matthew C. Benoit as the town's new land use enforcement officer.

Charles T. O'Connor, town administrator, recommended the appointment, noting, "Matt has been working as an associate since April. He has made an impression."

NAME: AUBURN SELECTMEN; PROPOSITION 2-1/2 DEBT EXCLUSION
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Nov 27, 2007
Words:464
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