Approximately $142,000 Missing From Library Capital Donations Fund

The library-addition warrant article that will be presented at Town Meeting next week would “authorize the withdrawal of Four Hundred Sixteen Thousand Dollars ($416,000.00) from the existing Library Capital Reserve Fund and Four Hundred Ten Thousand Dollars ($410,000.00) from the Library Capital Donations Fund.”

However, Library Trustee Gordon Hunt admitted at the budget committee’s public hearing on February 13 that the Library Capital Donations Fund does not hold $410,000, but instead is short of that by approximately $142,000.

Chris Sawyer: The amount of money that the library’s [contributing], from their donation fund, is that money actually in the donation fund right now?

Gordon Hunt: No. Not all of it. Approximately, at this time, about $140,000 in pledges — Sorry, Christie?

Christie Sarles, Librarian: Just got another pledge for $2,000 this afternoon.

Chris Sawyer: And how do you know those pledges are going to actually come to fruition?

Christie Sarles: Signed pledges are contracts. Signed pledges are legal contracts.

Chris Sawyer: They’re not tendered for a bank. You can’t take it to a bank and get money for it.

Gordon Hunt: Well, let’s put it this way — when the town of Wolfeboro did their town hall, it had pledges of considerably larger amounts than these. They had 100% participation in the pledges. I think it’s called an “act of faith.” Someone says they’re going to do something, they generally do it. And that’s what we’re based upon it.

Chris Sawyer: And that’s fine, it’s just, if someone didn’t know that that money is in the form of pledges, maybe that should be spelled out to the public.

Gordon Hunt: We spelled it out any number of times. We spell it out at our public meetings, we will be spelling it out at the Town Meeting, as well.

Chris Sawyer: Oh, you will? Oh, good.

Gordon Hunt: And keep in mind, too, that $410,000 [in the capital donations fund], that we’re talking about right now, is a moving target. Because our fundraising is ongoing. We hope to have considerably more money by then, being Town Meeting.

Contrary to what Christie said, pledges are not signed contracts. They’re promises, nothing more. That does not mean that every single pledge will not be fulfilled. I’m sure they all will be fulfilled.

However, for budgetary purposes, we cannot treat pledges as money in hand.

There is a warrant article being presented to the Wolfeboro Town Meeting to renovate and expand the Wolfeboro Public Library. That warrant article is worded significantly differently then the warrant article here in Tuftonboro.

Here is the warrant article (emphasis in original) in Wolfeboro:

Article 9: Library Renovation and Expansion Project

To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of Five Million dollars ($5,000,000) to be funded as follows: bond issue not to exceed Four Million Eight Hundred Fifty Five Thousand dollars ($4,855,000), said bond amount to be reduced by donations and pledged donations currently estimated at One Million Three Hundred Thousand dollars ($1,300,000) generated by the Wolfeboro Public Library Foundation, and to authorize the Selectmen to transfer the balance of the Library Reserve Fund currently estimated at Twenty Two Thousand dollars ($22,000) and the balance from the Wolfeboro Public Library’s Building Fund currently estimated at One Hundred Twenty Three Thousand dollars ($123,000), for the purpose of renovating and expanding the Wolfeboro Public Library building, to include both the interior and exterior of the building, parking lot and other site improvement, and to include the cost for architect services, engineering services, construction manager services and contingencies. Further, to authorize the issuance of not more than Four Million Eight Hundred Fifty Five Thousand dollars ($4,885,000) of bonds or notes for this purpose in accordance with the Municipal Finance Act, RSA Chapter 33, such sum to be reduced by any federal, state, or private funds made available therefor (including the aforementioned donations and pledged donations), and to authorize the Board of Selectmen to negotiate and issue such bonds or notes and to determine the rate of interest, maturity and other terms for this purpose. Further to authorize the Selectmen to accept the gift of donations and pledged donations currently estimated at One Million Three Hundred Thousand dollars ($1,300,000) generated by the Wolfeboro Public Library Foundation to be used to offset the costs of the project and to reduce the amount needed to be bonded.

Estimated Tax Rate Impact: 2018-$0.00, 2019-$0.005, 2020-$0.160 per $1,000 of Assessed Valuation

(Recommended by the Board of Selectmen by a vote of 5-0)

(Recommended by the Budget Committee by a vote of 5-0)

3/5 majority vote required

As you can see the Wolfeboro library article is much more specific than the Tuftonboro library article:

Article 04: To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of One Million, Nine Hundred Twenty Thousand Dollars ($1,920,000.00) to renovate and expand the current Library and to authorize the issuance of not more than One Million Ninety Four Thousand Dollars ($1,094,000.00) of bonds or notes in accordance with the provisions of the Municipal Finance Act (RSA Chapter 33); to authorize the selectmen to issue and negotiate such bonds and notes and to determine the rate of interest thereon and the maturity and other terms thereof. Furthermore, to authorize the withdrawal of Four Hundred Sixteen Thousand Dollars ($416,000.00) from the existing Library Capital Reserve Fund and Four Hundred Ten Thousand Dollars ($410,000.00) from the Library Capital Donations Fund. The first payment on the bond or note will not be made until year 2019.

(Two-Thirds (2/3) ballot vote required per RSA 33:8-a)
(Recommended by the Board of Selectmen 2-0-1 and the Budget Committee 6-1)

The Library Capital Donations Fund does not have $410,000 in it, by Gordon’s own admission. Therefore the warrant article is misleading.

The article should be phrased differently, such as:

To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of One Million, Nine Hundred Twenty Thousand Dollars ($1,920,000.00) to renovate and expand the current Library and to authorize the issuance of not more than One Million Two Hundred Thirty Six Thousand Dollars ($1,236,000) of bonds or notes in accordance with the provisions of the Municipal Finance Act (RSA Chapter 33), said bond or note amount to be reduced by donations and pledged donations currently estimated at One Hundred Forty Two Thousand dollars ($142,000.00); to authorize the selectmen to issue and negotiate such bonds and notes and to determine the rate of interest thereon and the maturity and other terms thereof. Furthermore, to authorize the withdrawal of Four Hundred Sixteen Thousand Dollars ($416,000.00) from the existing Library Capital Reserve Fund and Two Hundred Sixty Eight Thousand Dollars ($268,000.00) from the Library Capital Donations Fund, as well as authorize the selectmen to accept the gift of donations and pledged donations currently estimated at One Hundred Forty Two Thousand dollars ($142,000.00), generated by the Friends of the Tuftonboro Free Library or the Library Fundraising Committee,¹ to be used to offset the costs of the project and to reduce the amount needed to be taken in a bond or note. The first payment on the bond or note will not be made until year 2019.

The article should be amended at Town Meeting.


  1. I forget what exactly the fundraising committee is called, but its mandate is to raise funds.

NY Times Best Seller Kate Braestrup at Tuftonboro Free Library Saturday

Maine author Kate Braestrup is coming to Tuftonboro on Saturday, January 20, at 11AM, for the first Book & Author Lunch of the year at Tuftonboro Free Library. Braestrup is a minister, chaplain to the Maine Warden Service, and author of numerous books including the best-selling memoir, Here If You Need Me.

Praise for Here If You Need Me:

Can be read as a superbly crafted memoir of love, loss, grief, hope and the complex subtleties of faith. Or it can be read as the journey of a strong-minded, warmhearted woman through tragedy to grace… [Braestrup is] remarkable, steady, peaceful and wise.”
Jane Ciabattari, Washington Post

Even the most jaded secularist would fall for the chaplain of the Maine Warden Service.”
Karen Schechner, Cleveland Plain-Dealer

Extraordinary. [Braestrup] writes with affecting gravity about the everyday horrors she encounters. This witty, middle-aged Maine minister has a calm, earthy authority all her own.”
Jennifer Reese, EW

Although laced with tragedy, the book is breezy and humorous – and uplifting.”
-Jerry Harkavy, Boston Globe

For (free) tickets, please stop by the library or call 603-569-4256.

Fire Department and Transfer Station Reports for September

At Monday’s selectmen’s meeting several department heads gave their monthly reports to the board. Attached are the fire department and transfer station reports.

Click to view:

fire department 2017-9

transfer station 2017-9