By taking advantage of other funding sources, the most important of which is only temporarily available, the cost of the project to Amherst’s taxpayers will be approximately $16M, less than half its total cost.
Preliminary estimates for that total cost have come in at approximately $36 million, including expenses for landscaping, demolition, moving, temporary quarters for the Library during construction, and a conservative contingency amount. The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) administers competitive grant funds that can cover up to 40% of eligible costs; these would be your tax dollars coming back to Amherst that might otherwise go to another town. In addition, a Feasibility Study has identified prospects for significant private fundraising, grant support, and historic tax credits. And the use of Community Preservation Act funds for the historic preservation aspects of the project would supplement these funds from taxes already expected to be imposed.
The balance would be supplied by tax supported bonds. The impact of such borrowing on property taxes depends, of course, on the prevailing interest rate, the term of the loans, and their structure, and other borrowing by the Town. Unlike home mortgage borrowing, Amherst’s bonds have typically included annual debt service payments (principal and interest) that are not uniform for every year. A likely scenario prepared by the Town’s Finance Staff in the fall of 2016 would estimate the property tax burden of borrowing $15M for the Library project at each level of property assessments as follows: