The library trustees are leery of using Cariddi's bequest in one fell swoop.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The library trustees are hesitant to use money left by state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi to address major maintenance needs.
Chairwoman Robin Martin told the trustees Wednesday that she recently met with Mayor Thomas Bernard who asked that the trustees consider using the money left by the late Cariddi to go toward some of the maintenance concerns in the original part of the library.
"It's up to us but I am not sure that it is a good idea," Martin said.
The state representative and former city councilor passed away in 2017 and left a considerable amount of money to the city. Cariddi left the library $175,000 from her estate plus a $7,500 gift to go toward establishing an astronomy program.
Martin said the mayor thought the funds could go toward plans or design work. Complete design work would better position the library for grant funding that could address the many maintenance issues in the 150-year-old Sanford Blackinton mansion.
Trustee Tara Jacobs said there are no real stipulations attached to the bulk of the money left in the estate. She said their only guidance is that it goes toward maintenance, operational, and programming needs in the library.
The trustees agreed that it would be OK for some of the money to go toward this work but did not think emptying the fund was appropriate.
"I can see using a bit of it but I can't see using it all," Jacobs said. "I don't think that was the spirit of it ... it makes the money become invisible in terms of legacy."
Trustee Sara Farnsworth said said she would not be comfortable tapping more than a third of the fund and felt the money should not be used to address maintenance issues the city has deferred.
Jacobs said she was also not comfortable committing money without a solid cost of these projects. She was wary that the design work itself could blow through the money.
"These are very expensive needs and I don't see any of them being something this money could fix," she said. "Until we have a very clear plan mapped out of our capital needs strategy ... I am uncomfortable assigning funds."
The trustees agreed to inform the mayor that they would rather disperse the funds throughout the library instead of focusing them on one project. Also, they wanted to relay to the mayor that they were uncomfortable committing money without clear numbers.
In Library Director Sarah Sanfilippo's report, she said things have been slow over the final months of summer but did note that workers have been in the building installing new LED lighting throughout.
"It is already an amazing difference when you walk through places where they have installed the lights you can actually read what's on a book's spine," she said.
The lighting was funded through a Green Communities Grant the city secured.
Sanfilippo said funding was a bit short so not every light will be replaced. However, outdoor lighting will be replaced.
She added the Friends of the Library will hold its book sale this weekend. The sale runs Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish Center. There will also be a bake sale and silent auction.
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As Thanksgiving approaches, it's meaningful to reflect on the origin of the holiday –Native Americans and pilgrims sharing their bounty of food with each other. As you gather with your loved ones this year, perhaps you can think of ways to share not only your dinner, but also your financial bounty.
In terms of bounty-sharing, here are some suggestions you may find helpful, no matter your age or that of your children:
* Make appropriate gifts. If you have young children, you may want to get them started with a savings account to help them develop positive financial habits. You could even make it a Thanksgiving tradition to measure how their accounts have grown from year to year. But you can go even further by starting to fund an education savings vehicle such as a 529 plan. This account can provide valuable tax benefits and gives you total control of the money until your children are ready for college or trade school. Other education-funding options also are available, such as a custodial account, commonly known as an UGMA or UTMA. If you have grown children, you could still contribute to a 529 plan for your grandchildren.
* Develop – and communicate – your estate plans. While you may want to be as generous as possible to your loved ones during your lifetime, you may desire to leave something behind as part of your legacy. And that means you will need to develop a comprehensive estate plan. Such a plan will allow you to express your wishes about where you want your assets to go, who will take care of your children if something happens to you, how you want to be treated should you become incapacitated, and other important issues. Your estate plan will need to include the appropriate documents and arrangements – last will and testament, living trust, power of attorney, health care directive, and so on. To create such a plan, you may need to work with a team of professionals, including your financial, tax and legal advisors. And it’s essential that you communicate the existence and details of your estate plan to your loved ones. By doing so, you can help them know what to expect and what’s expected of them to help avoid unpleasant surprises and familial squabbles when it’s time to settle your estate.
The Historical Society recently moved its museum from Western Gateway Heritage State Park to the first-floor of the Holiday Inn. Because this space is smaller, the entire collection could not be moved.
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