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Gilmanton library gets $52,500 in close vote

The privately owned Gilmanton Year-Round Library will remain open after voters narrowly approved $52,500 to cover costs over the next year.

If the motion was defeated, the library would have closed. The petitioned warrant article passed, 500-483.

“We are very excited to see the support,” said Anne Kirby, president of nonprofit’s board of trustees. Results weren’t in until after midnight, Kirby said. “As soon as I saw we had 500 votes, I knew we were in good shape,” she said. The number of “no” votes surprised her, but Kirby said efforts to encourage voting paid off. Last year, a similar motion was rejected by a vote of 400-322.

The money will cover about 70 percent of the library’s $70,500 operating costs. The balance – about $18,000 – will be raised by the library.

The library’s board will discuss how the library can change so it doesn’t have to rely on petition warrant articles every year. “That’s something we’re going to look at in a broad sense,” Kirby said.

From the library’s opening in 2009 to 2012, taxpayers annually approved money for operations. The tax support could help the library leverage more grant money, said Kirby.

Voters also approved a $3.28 million operating budget, a decrease of almost 3 percent from the current year’s budget. Less than 2 percent of the operating budget will go toward the library operations. They also voted to keep the fire department’s staffing structure, with one full-time chief and three full-time staff. There was one vacancy in the department, and selectmen wanted to use two part-time employees to fill it at a savings of $34,000 in health care and benefits. The petition article passed, 662-300.

(Iain Wilson can be reached at 369-3313 or iwilson@cmonitor.com.)

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