Hudson Library

I read an interesting letter to the editor today in the Nashua Telegraph about the recent vote against the Library in Hudson.  In the letter they stated: “I was saddened and frankly surprised that the bond for a new library for Hudson failed last week. I also think it tragic that the residents of Hudson allow 3,000 voters to decide for the entire community.”  … “The estimated cost of about $30 a year per family for a new library is approximately the same as the cost of one hardcover book, or one meal for a family of five at a fast food burger place, or two large two-topping pizzas, or an outing to the movies for two or several lattes at a local coffee shop.”

After reading this letter I took a quick jump over to the Hudson, NH website to read up a little more on this situation as Merrimack has likewise been pushing for a new library for quite some time.  What I found out was as follows:

According to the warrant article they were looking for roughly $4 million for the new library (Merrimack is looking for a library nearly double the cost of that even though we have about the same level of population).

They needed 1894 votes for it to pass and they received 1628 yes, 1528 no.

Hudson has around 25,000 citizens total.

So what does this all mean?  Well first of all, it means that for it to cost $30 per family each family would need to pay that much for nearly 20 years.  $4 million divided by 25,000 comes out to be $160 per person so assuming an average household has 3.5 people that puts it up to $560 per family if taken all at once.  At $30 per year that puts it at 18.6 years, which factor in interest and you're up to 20.

But getting to the main point, this author is experiencing the same disenfranchised feeling many of the rest of us have with the two-headed demon known as democracy.  In a single vote people can deny others of something they want or can force the others to fund something they object to.  In fact Benjamin Franklin said it best when he described democracy as “two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner.”  The problem is that we’ve grown accustom to having the government be the solution to our problems, it isn’t.  Government is the problem.  Would it have been any less tragic for 1894 voters to have forced the remainder of the town to fund something it didn’t want?

This is exactly why we need to re-evaluate our government.  If a new library would only cost the town $30 per household a year then what is stopping those who support it from putting up donations every year?  If only those 1628 people who voted yes had put up $100 a year they would have the library built and paid off in 25 years time without having to force anyone else to give a stamp of approval on it.  Merrimack ever year holds its annual cardboard boat race as a fund raiser for it’s new library (which I attend and do donate willingly at and in some years even volunteer helping out).  The problem is what people donate doesn’t even cover the inflation of what a new library would cost over the year before.  So what makes us think that we should be able to put a gun to the head of someone who doesn’t want what we want and force them to fund something we clearly aren’t willing to fund willingly on our own?

Just once I would like to see a community step up to the plate and actually put their money up for what they want themselves without forcing people who either don’t want it or can’t afford it to do so for them.  So what say you Hudson?  How many of those 1628 people are willing to cut a check today to their library for $100?  Are you up to the challenge?