Wolfeboro Town Hall Article Did Not Count Pledges As Real Money

In response to my post, Approximately $142,000 Missing From Library Capital Donations Fund, Gordon Hunt, chairman of the library trustees, wrote, in a comment on Facebook:

The fund raising efforts for the Library expansion were modeled on Wolfeboro’s Town Hall renovation. Over $736,000.00 was pledged in advance of the vote for that project. Every penny pledged was redeemed in a timely manner with NO DEFAULTS. I should think those people who have stepped up in the same manner for Tuftonboro’s Library will act in the same manner. I feel you are demeaning these folks with a veiled insinuating, [sic] that they will not honor their commitment.

Note that Gordon does not dispute that the $142,000.00 in pledged money is not in the Library Capital Donations Fund.

His reference to “every penny pledged” to the Wolfeboro Town Hall renovation being “redeemed in a timely manner with NO DEFAULTS” is irrelevant. Whether or not anyone reneged on their pledge in Wolfeboro has no bearing on the outcome here in Tuftonboro.  Something that happened in a different town on a different project three or four years ago is not useful for predicting what might happen here in Tuftonboro in the coming year or two.

Nevertheless, let’s take a look at the Wolfeboro Town Hall Renovation warrant article from 2014 (emphasis in original):

ARTICLE 7: Reduced-Scope Renovations of Wolfeboro Town Hall

To see whether the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of Four Million dollars ($4,000,000) to be funded as follows: bond issue not to exceed Three Million Eight Hundred Eighty-Eight Thousand Six Hundred dollars ($3,888,600) (to be reduced by pledged donations currently estimated at Seven Hundred Fifty Thousand dollars [$750,000] generated by The Friends of Wolfeboro Town Hall, Inc.), and transfer the balance from the Town Office Facility Capital Reserve Fund (currently estimated at $111,440); for the purpose of renovating the Wolfeboro Town Hall building, to include both the exterior and interior of the building to make it completely handicapped accessible and both building and fire code compliant, but excluding the parking lot and landscaping improvements, replacement windows, clock faces, and other improvements previously funded and completed. This also includes the costs for the architect’s services, construction manager services, and contingencies. Further, to authorize the issuance of not more than three million eight hundred eighty-eight thousand six hundred dollars ($3,888,600) of bonds or notes for this purpose in accordance with RSA Chapter 33, Municipal Finance Act, such sum to be reduced by any federal, state, or private funds made available therefor, (including the aforementioned pledged donations), and to authorize the Board of Selectmen to issue and negotiate such bonds or notes and to determine the rate of interest, maturity and other terms for this purpose, and further to raise and appropriate the sum of Eleven Thousand Three Hundred dollars ($11,300) for the payment of interest on any notes issued in anticipation of such bonds that is payable in 2014; and further to authorize the Selectmen to transfer the balance of the Capital Reserve Fund for Town Office Facility, which currently has a balance of One Hundred Eleven Thousand Four Hundred Forty dollars ($111,440), for this purpose and to accept the gift of pledged donations currently estimated at $750,000 generated by The Friends of the Wolfeboro Town Hall, Inc., which will be used to offset the cost of the project and reduce the amount needing to be bonded.
Estimated Tax Rate Impact: 2014-$0.006; 2015-$0.150 (Recommended by Board of Selectmen by a vote of 3-2) (Recommended by Budget Committee by a vote of 7-2) (3/5 vote is required)

The Wolfeboro Town Hall warrant article from 2014 is significantly different than the warrant article for the library addition this year in Tuftonboro.

The Wolfeboro Town Hall article took out a larger loan (in proportion to the cost of the project)  that would later be “reduced by any federal, state, or private funds made available” afterward.

The Tuftonboro Library-Addition article treats the pledged money as real money already in hand, and therefore seeks a smaller loan (in proportion to the cost of the project).

The Tuftonboro model is flawed. Pledged money, no matter the intentions of the good people making the pledges, is not real money. Real money has already been donated and is currently in the Library Capital Donations Fund.

Max Ledoux

Author: Max Ledoux

I've lived in Tuftonboro since 2014. I grew up in Lisbon Falls, Maine (the Moxie capital of the world). I run tuftonboro.net.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *