Cyra’s studded shoes crunched on the ice as we made our way down the barn driveway. Behind us Teddy let out a whinny to express his despair at being left behind. When we reached the marsh, I could just hear the water of Meadow Brook as it flowed under the ice.
The damp air carried the sounds of the turnpike miles to our west. A single crow called off to the east. Mocha ran parallel to us in the fields to our left. I could hear the whisper of her passage over the crusty snow. We passed a house where I could hear the barking of a dog inside, alerting her mistress to our presence.
I went down to the barn at approximately 7:00 am. It was not quite day yet but it was also no longer night. As I neared the barn, the heady aroma of large animals came to me in the cold winter air. Mocha was bounding through the new eight inches of snow to keep up with me. Cyra and her barn mate, Teddy, were out in the pasture. They were standing in the small stand of pine trees at the far side of the pasture. I grabbed Cyra’s riding halter and trudged through the new snow to get to them.
Not too long ago we were thrilled to realize the addition of a Makerspace. This space is filled with mostly low-tech crafty stuff: crayons, coloring pencils, scissors, colored paper, markers, colored pipe cleaners, glue and all sorts of wacky doodads so that anyone (especially littles) can make stuff anytime they like. It is located in our meeting room/kitchen/quiet room area and can be used most anytime, unless there is a book club meeting or the like taking place there. This is also an area where visitors are free to snack and drink and often littles are very happy to nosh and craft at the same time. When the weather is disagreeable and you are feeling housebound, why not bring your little ones in to make use of this area. They might even end up with something worthy of being magnetized to your fridge afterward.
Fifth in a series. Watch for more great stuff from the library.
We had gone a slightly different and longer route for our morning outing. We turned right instead of left out of the barn driveway. Cyra’s steel spiked shoes crunched on the frozen dirt of Woodman Road. Up the Cider House Road we went, and then into the pine stand on the corner of Woodman Road and Meadow Lane. Cyra’s shoes now landed on the frozen duff of the forest floor. Mocha’s paw whispered in the light coating of snow on the ground.
Did you know that we have jigsaw puzzles to loan here at the library? We have puzzles that are 300 pieces and puzzles that are 1000 pieces, and some that number in between, so there is something for everyone. These are loaned out for three weeks, which is plenty of time for even the most challenged puzzler. We also usually have a puzzle going and it is fun to see folks from littles to octogenarians taking some time to try to get a few pieces in place.
We have recently acquired dozens of new large print titles that many find easier to read either because of vision issues or just in case you have left your cheaters in another location when you finally settle down with a new and exciting title. They are shelved separately from other books and are distinguishable by the classy yellow electrical tape at the top of the spine! We are beyond frugal here, folks.
Third in a series. Watch for more great stuff you can borrow from the library.
[Editors’ note: We asked Peter to write a primer on the budget process for our readers. Here’s his explanation with some commentary. The 2020-21 budget season is upon us. Peter explained in a prior letter that the town’s current tax rate is $16.90 per thousand dollars of property. Roughly 24% of that $16.90 goes to the Town of New Gloucester, 4% to Cumberland County, and the remaining 71% to the school district.]
There are two committees in the town that review the budget requests along with the selectmen. The first one I will speak of is the CIP or Capital Improvement Committee. Department heads along with the town manager develop their list of needs and wants on any capital item over $7,500. Requests are submitted through the selectmen to the CIP. The committee listens to department head presentations and then ranks each request with a detailed scoring system. The items are listed in a priority order and sent back to the selectmen. Almost always the selectmen accept the rankings of the CIP and then decide how many items can be funded. Not many are usually funded; last year it was about 4 out of 20ish requests. There are two types of CIP funding: either directly from taxation for a smaller project, or from capital reserves (savings), which is money set aside each year, most often to fund large projects like a fire truck or public works truck. With a good CIP program, it prevents New Gloucester from borrowing (bonding) money.