Sunapee Selectmen Will Consider Emergency Funds for Town Library

The board of selectmen in Sunapee will hold a public hearing on December 21 to consider, as prescribed by RSA 32.11, an emergency expenditure of $20,000 for mold remediation at the town library, according to selectmen minutes. Abbott Library Director John Walden and Xan Gallup, chair of the library board of trustees, went before the selectmen on November 30 to discuss the emergency expenditure.

Earlier in the year, toxic mold was discovered in the building’s lower level. The library basement houses adult and children book collections, office space, and the After School Kids (ASK) program that operates three days a week.

The library closed its lower level in November for the mold remediation. However, when books and shelves were removed, other moisture-related damage, drainage failures, and critical maintenance needs became apparent. The cost of the maintenance and repairs including replacement of the basement stairs exceeds available funds within the library budget and from the town contingency fund.

Repair of the basement floor required removing part of the library’s interior staircase. The trustees determined a re-build of the stairs leading to the lower level was necessary based on code requirements.

As for mold, the post-remediation mold tests showed “versicolor mold” still existed in the lower level office. The trustees recently agreed more cleaning airing, and re-testing of the area was needed. Volunteers will assist with the cleaning.

The children’s ASK program found a temporary meeting location, the Sunapee Community Methodist Church located across the street.

If the Sunapee selectmen approve the emergency expenditure on December 21, the funds with approval from the NH Dept. of Revenue could be available to the library within a few days, according to trustee minutes.

The RSA 32.11 reads: “When an unusual circumstance arises during the year which makes it necessary to expend money in excess of an appropriation which may result in an over expenditure of the total amount appropriated for all purposes at the meeting or when no appropriation has been made, the selectmen or village district commissioners, upon application to the commissioner of revenue administration or the school board upon application to the commissioner of education, may be given authority to make such expenditure, provided that:

I. Such application shall be made prior to the making of such expenditure. No such authority shall be granted until a majority of the budget committee, if any, has approved the application in writing. If there is no budget committee, the governing body shall hold a public hearing on the request, with notice as provided in RSA 91-A:2. II. The commissioner of revenue administration or the commissioner of education may accept and approve an application after expenditure if caused by a sudden or unexpected emergency, in which case paragraph I shall not apply. III. Neither the commissioner of revenue administration nor the commissioner of education shall approve such expenditure unless the governing body designates the source of revenue to be used. Neither commissioner shall have the authority to increase the town or district’s tax rate in order to fund such expenditure.”

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