Library bond approved in city
By STEPHANIE M. PETERS STAFF WRITER | March 03,2010
Cassandra Hotaling / Rutland Herald
Rutland City residents vote at Christ The King School on Tuesday afternoon.
A bond that will help repair the Rutland Free Library building and three charter changes proposed by Rutland Taxpayers United passed overwhelmingly at the polls Tuesday.
Failing by a slim margin, meanwhile, was the Recreation and Park Department's request for a $4.7 million bond that would have allowed the city to construct the Community Center at Giorgetti Park, an expansion of the current Giorgetti Arena and the addition of a multiuse "bubble" facility.
It failed by a vote of 1,842 to 1,995, or 153 votes.
Other than a charter change dealing with the city's policy on sole source procurement, the Community Center at Giorgetti Park was the only charter, ballot or bond item to fail on Tuesday.
"Relatively speaking, it was a large dollar amount that was laid out there," said Mayor Christopher Louras of the Giorgetti results. "It's going to continue to be an education process. I fully expect that we're going to bring it back to the voters again. We'll listen to the voters and do the best we can to address their concerns before bringing it back to them."
Louras said he will recommend to the aldermen that the Community Center at Giorgetti Park be placed on the November election ballot.
For the many library trustees and volunteers who spent the winter advocating for the $500,000, 10-year bond, which will cost about $9 on the tax bill of the average $150,000 home, the vote was a major victory. The final tally on the library bond was 2,726 to 1,152.
"We've done an awful lot of work on it," said Larry Courcelle, a member of the Board of Trustees, on Tuesday afternoon as he stood holding a sign outside the Godnick Adult Center.
"The building's a tremendous asset to the city. It needs to be taken care of and especially now that it looks like we're going to stay."
The members of Rutland Taxpayers United also hailed the results of their proposals as significant victories on Tuesday night. Charter Article No. 1 called for 10-year term limits for the mayor and members of the Board of Aldermen, while Articles No. 3 and 4 called for school and municipal employees to begin paying at least 20 percent of their health care premiums.
Term limits passed 2,560 to 1,231, while the health care premium questions passed by nearly identical votes of 2,668 to 1,197 and 2,683 to 1,166.
"I think it's a pretty good margin of victory," said Shawn Pemrick, a member of Rutland Taxpayers United. "I was very surprised with Ward 1 actually. I thought it might be a close one because of the number of teachers who live in the area."
Pemrick said he fully expects that both health care premium questions will be challenged by the unions. They must also be passed by the Legislature to become state law.
"The fight's not over yet, but when you have almost a 3 to 1 vote margin, I think it's going to send a pretty clear message to the Legislature that the people are in support of this," he said.
As for term limits, Pemrick said, they were not meant to target Aldermen David Allaire and Sharon Davis – both of whom, he said, he thinks do a good, fair job in their capacities on the board, but he thinks "it gets to a point where people want to see a change."
If passed by the Legislature, it means their next two years as aldermen will be their last. Allaire has served 12 years, while Davis has served 18.
While waiting to see the results of the election at Christ the King on Tuesday, Allaire said he was disappointed by the voters' decision.
"We will be term-limited out (in 2011)," he said.