Statement from The Brookfield Library Board of Trustees - December 21, 2017

Schools and Libraries

December 22, 2017

From: Brookfield Library

The Brookfield Library Board of Trustees has worked for the past 16 years on the new Town of Brookfield library project and we believe that the taxpayers of Brookfield deserve the facts on this project:

- The new library project for $14.7MM is proposed to be located on town owned, tax payer maintained property at the Municipal Campus, specifically on the grass field behind the horse sculpture, originally noted in the Municipal Campus master plan as a library/cultural center location.

- The Library Board of Trustees is mindful of the impact of purchasing land for a civic building, including the upfront cost of land as well as the negative effect on our tax base. The search process for the location included a Library Location Ad Hoc Committee analyzing the entire Town Center District (Four Corners). This committee was comprised of residents from various backgrounds, including a commercial developer, former and current board of finance members, business people, a zoning commission member, and library board member. There was no suitable location available when considering the cost to acquire, cost to develop, size, and availability to purchase.

- A Facilities Ad Hoc Committee, appointed by the Board of Selectman, identified three new locations for a replacement sports field, including at the Municipal Campus, in a recent report.

- The proposed referendum includes a separate question in regards to funding for relocation of a grass sports field, if needed. There is no intent to negatively impact any children’s sports programs. From the beginning, the Library Board of Trustees recognized and fully supported that the sports field must be relocated, not taken.

- The Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance are currently developing a long term finance plan for this project and other important capital projects in consideration, including funds for improving school facilities. The purpose of their work is to ensure that the community can move forward on all of these projects in a way that is fiscally responsible for the taxpayers of Brookfield. This plan will be made available to the public prior to the library referendum.

- Education is important to everyone in this town including the Library Board of Trustees. Our goal is to enhance the education of our children and the entire community.

- The Library Board of Trustees is mindful of being fiscally conservative by 1. Paring down the cost to the bare minimum of $14.7MM, 2. Offsetting the cost of $14.7MM with a $1MM library construction grant from the State of Connecticut, and 3. Starting a fundraising program by the Brookfield Library Foundation with the goal of $1MM over three years.

- The Library Board of Trustees along with the Library Director continue to develop the projected operating budget for the proposed new library program. Design considerations took into account being able run the new building with existing staff with minor additions for maintenance staff.

- The Brookfield Library provides education, career assistance, cultural programming and access to resources for all age groups and residents of the Town of Brookfield. It is important to remember that the proposed program also includes community space that is lacking in our town that would be available to individuals and groups alike.

The Library Board of Trustees, appreciate the community’s support as a town service, and values our partnership with the citizens of Brookfield as we work together to provide outstanding resources for the entire town. If you have further questions or comments, feel free to contact the Library Board of Trustees directly by emailing us as listed on the Library and Town Websites.

Betsy McIlvaine, Chairman
John Voris, Vice Chairman
Maizie Jaffe, Secretary
Cathy Lasser, Treasurer
John Barbosa
Jennifer Choi
Christina Cumberton
Jessely Pineda
Ilga Parris