Any one catch the Melrose Library renovation proposal, a 40 million dollar project. They want to expand the footprint of the building, I assume that would involve building into the library parking lot,now that's a good idea in an already congested area. They want to demolish the 1960's addition and replace it with a new larger building. Why not add space by putting a third floor on the 1960's addition, its bound to be a cheaper alternative and no decrease in parking.
Hardly a surprise that the same architecture firm was hired that oversaw construction of the middle school and the
high school. Was the Library renovation design ever put out for bids or awarded "sole source' Was there a separate
"needs assessment '. How involved were the Aldermen ?
Architecture firms typically use a 3.0 multiplier when calculating fees to make a 15% profit (i.e., they target triple the employee hourly rate, to cover overhead expenses). These expenses include rent, insurance, healthcare and other benefits, sick time and vacation, and the salaries of office support employees not specifically assigned to a project (accounting, receptionist, HR, business manager, etc.) A 2.54 multiplier is the typical breakeven point, just covering expenses. A 4.0 multiplier would be a very profitable project.
Who's watching the chicken coop ?
The library of the 21st century is located in everyone's home - it's called a computer and internet! What bird brain came up with spending 40 million dollars on an obsolete concept - oh yea - our education Mayor!
Strange that he fails to understand that the school books will be going totally electronic soon - students use tablets or laptops and that every household in Melrose has a computer or has access to one. Kids are taught from day one to use a computer to look information up on the internet! You can even take out books electronically at the library today - or use their internet system to order books at other libraries. The only reason to enter the library these days is to renew your library card - and now the city wants to spend 40 million on remodeling it?
Here is the real deal - for cheaper money - renovate the existing library to create more meeting space for the community - set up more cubicles with computers and printers with internet connections and with Wifi throughout the bldg - make available tablets for those who want to use them at the library - get rid of all existing books and reference materials that are already digitized, and reduce existing staff, since you won't need most of them.
Within 20 years, brick and mortar libraries will be monuments to the past! Can we get some forward-thinking people in city government?
The whole concept of packaging an unnecessary library rehab/expansion with a new fire/police into one debt exclusion is simply a ploy by our mayor so he claim that he "tried to upgrade the police and fire stations but the people of Melrose voted against it".
A previous poster talked about the library expansion being a "Monument to the Past" - I couldn't have said it better! The world is going electronic - internet - and Melrose wants to go to a brick & mortar Taj Mahal!
Denise Gaffey and others - please interject some common sense into this discussion - you all are doing the planning for this useless 40 million dollar boondoggle!
Let's see how Erin Zwirko performs with her husband Mike "Jerko" Zwirko leading the charge for the Mayor's fantasy plans.
For $40 million you could rebuild or rehab all four of our public safety buildings (police/fire). But no, let's build a library. I thought I was dreaming while reading that article. What a terrible idea. I hope this is not a done deal, they really need to think this over.
HC was a done deal, too..... Our 1st woman President......I am a Democrat who voted for Clinton.....many people....family and friends included....supported Trump because they are sick of the "deals, done" by politicians whose own egos and agendas eroded respect for politicians at every level of government. Current group of elected Melrose politicians all need to go. One comment that newbies to Melrose should run for office and replace the older generation..... But voting in JD and Liz on the school committee changed nothing. JL and MZ ( tied at the hip mother/son relationship with GI ) won't challenge anything the administration pushes. No respect for government at all....Democrats or Republicans....Happy New Year!
What ? 40 million ? Library? Why are we spending money on all of these renovations across the city and our police dept looks like something out of Mayberry R.F.D. ? We have NO substitutes for our teachers. We cut paraprofessionals from our schools. Are we still gong to pay retirement and health ins for the cemetery crook? Do we still pay for the BOA health insurance?
Why a lawyer with a private firm has his family's health insurance paid by Melrose taxpayers is a good question ???
Yes, some of the aldermen still get the GIC at taxpayer expense.
$350 million dollars was the sum left over after the last budget season. That is Rob Dolan's "belt-tightening" budget process, and during the same year he had the unmitigated gall to ask the taxpayers for a $2 million override, which 2-to-1 denied him his indefensible tax measure. Since then he has been punishing the community for not letting him have his way, starting with drastic cuts to secondary education (most of the department chair positions at the high school--crazy, highly damaging, and totally indefensible).
Now he's trying to pull another scam, this one even more outrageous.
For once VVoice is making sense.
"How involved were the Aldermen ?" BOA failed, again. They represent the will of RD, not the reasoned voice of the public via an engaged process of actual and appropriate vetting. Again.
Last night's BOA meeting it became clear when Monica spoke that in fact only Margolis attended the so-called "public" hearing about the Library project because naturally it was scheduled at exactly the same time a BOA meeting was taking place. The mayor and his cronies, including Denise G, make sure to do things to prevent any public process from actually occurring. It's always a last-minute rush for a quickie vote, just as it was for the MHS Library (newly coined Learning Resource Center--meaning now they actually threw away hundreds/thousands of books and the shelves are mostly empty, and the vast barn of a room is even more of an empty barn but for lots more taxpayer money--$5.3 million) or for the Science wing, same deal only $6 million+. It's always presented as "we need this vote right now," and "of course we had a public process," when in fact the opposite is true. There is never a true open bidding process because Tappe has already been selected (RD's good ol' boys, with John McL at the helm "advising"). There is never a real public process with actual documents, data, and a spacious process with engaging the full public with real dialogue. It's always a prescripted, done deal, with nearly no "public" process, and always a fast timeline, despite the fact that the officials know months and in most cases years in advance what is being sought, and they arrange with their cozy in-house architecture firm to do some quickie designs (never "free") so that they can slam through quickie approval when they decide it's time to buy some more favor and votes from the taxpayers/voters.
Last night Mike Z demonstrated a tiny bit of backbone in asking if the "needs assessment" and other "data" from the "public" process could be attached to the order (though he was shaking and asked ever so meekly). He wondered aloud why these weren't submitted in advance. (Duh! His wife works for RD and he has been around long enough to know this is the operational mode of this mayor absolutely always.) If he had been a responsible public representative, he might have insisted that no vote for approval would take place without appropriate supporting documentation being submitted in each and every case, with full disclosure to the public IN ADVANCE of any discussion, let alone vote. But instead he and the BOA chose the RNC tactic of demanding approval without appropriate vetting, just as it's playing out in Congress nationally, and the way that RD has operated increasingly knowing that no one will hold him accountable.
So sometime in the future (probably never) the flimsy background materials will be available, supposedly online, because Bobby B bumbled on about the need for that and got the usual head-nod but nothing firm from Denise, as per usual. Bobby rambled on and on about nothing much, trying to look all BigMan but basically saying nothing and predictably voting in the affirmative for whatever the Little Big Man on the 2nd floor wants. JL same deal, only even less noticeable or effective, as per usual.
Don C bloviated about there not being a single dollar from the current budget being required in order to vote to submit the grant application, and then voted yes, bypassing the bigger issues entirely about the fact that this is just another crass scheme of RD to please a certain sector of the public for a feel-good but totally unnecessary high-cost building project while overlooking the critical needs (public safety building, re-funding department chairs at the high school and all the other cuts to secondary education, paying a decent wage to substitutes, paying off all the massive legal bills and settlements mounting higher by the day from the failed school administration, fixing the water/sewer mess created by our arrogant and ignorant officials, etc.).
As usual Monica asked good questions, albeit not very forcefully, knowing that reason or facts or a public process are not something this bunch is interested in.
Marybeth did her usual nonsense simpering, throwing in lots about how "we" (in Winchester, where she double-dips and collects a salary/benefits) saw/did thus and so with "our" library building project ("we", really, Marybeth--you live and serve--or are supposed to be serving--as an elected official in MELROSE!)....
Beyond the bloviation, they all voted to approve the process applying for the grant, meaning they looked the other way and had no actual information other than what their shills says the city needed.
Fail, fail, fail.
Before any city money can be spent on this boondoggle, there has to be voter approval. As long as the voting public realizes that this is just another override proposal spelled differently, I have high hopes the result will be the same and the voting public isn't so deceived and disengaged that they fail to realize that.
Meanwhile, with every one of these cockamamie schemes, Dolan further reveals himself to be nothing more than the modern day equivalent of the carny snake oil hawker. He will try to sell you anything.
Get it straight - DOLAN DOESN'T CARE ABOUT YOU. He will reach into your pocket and take every last dime you have if he can get away with it. So once again we will be in the position of having to go to the polls and say to him "F off, you parasite."
I watched the video of the BOA where they voted to recommend approval of the grant application for the renovation at the next full Board meeting on Jan. 17th. Although I would prefer us to focus on upgrading our public safety buildings, I do agree with moving forward with this grant since it's worth the effort since we have already spent money on its conceptual design. Also, no additional money will need to spent until the grant is approved which may take a year or more to happen. By then, the city will need to determine if it is worth the money (current project based on 2016 pricing is 16.5 million). Assuming that the grant will pay for 40-45% of the cost - the city will either have to fund the remainder by debt exclusion or a 2.5 override.
However, I would like to see the city allocate funding for a conceptual design study for a combined police/fire complex - and to initiate this project so that the results of this study can be completed before we have to make decision about the library expansion - then the public can decide whether they want to fund the library project versus the a new public safety complex...or perhaps both. There is only so much money available for such expansions and I would like an opportunity to be given several options.
"I do agree with moving forward with this grant since it's worth the effort since we have already spent money on its conceptual design."
Voters never had a chance to approve the spending of one dime on this project, including on any "conceptual design." Since you seem to have insider knowledge and nothing was disclosed during the meeting, how much, precisely, was spent on this conceptual design? This would fly in the face of the answer given to Donald Conn when he asked if any money had been committed locally for this project????
What Don Conn actually said.... About the project, "for which we've expended NO CITY FUNDS, from what I'm aware of..."
If ANY funds have actually been expended, it was without a public process or authorizing vote from the funding bodies.
Thanks to "agree" for excellent summation.
Also, thanks to Ms. Dillilo for her good questions and remarks during Public participation.
Chair is a douche and needs to go. He's another of the GIC-takers, utterly insufferable and so full of himself. He actually makes a mockery of himself, with all his pomposity. Especially appreciate his "hearing no objections" (said literally before there is a breath of time in which someone could actually object), just like he moves ever so quickly always to close Public Participation, because heaven forbid, there might be someone else who might express a desire to participate in their governmental processes. Can't have that, after all. He jumps on the chance to close that down with almost as much zeal as the even douchier school committee chair.
Just found out that the cost of the library conceptual design project($85k) was paid with money from a private donation account of the library - NO CITY MONEY WAS INVOLVED as was noted by Ms. Gardener and Ms. Gaffey.
Hopefully, Julie DeLillo will run for the Ward 3 seat against Frank Wright. Wright is always late for meetings, if he shows up at all. She would have to leave the Women's Commission but they don't seem to do much and her views are needed on the BOA.
DeLillo was a major force in the defeat of the override which has saved thousands of taxpayers dollars. Somehow we have survived.
As a Ward 3er, Julie has my Vote !