Old Orchard Beach is about to begin a $2.2 million library expansion project approved by voters three years ago, but the town also is asking for an act of the Legislature to deem that vote valid.

A technical error in the way the referendum question was posted in 2011 came to light recently and has raised concerns about the validity of the vote. Town officials now hope the Legislature can settle any doubts, but also say they are confident the project will continue without interruption.

Town Manager Larry Mead said the issue with how the election warrant was posted came to light as the town’s legal counsel was reviewing the issuance of the bonds. Back in 2011, the town council took one vote to place both municipal and state articles on the ballot. Mead said the council should have taken separate votes on the state and municipal articles, but that the process was otherwise followed correctly.

Voters approved the Libby Memorial Library expansion by a vote of 2,281 to 893.

“The concern simply is if you have any kind of a potential question on the validity of the process, you obviously create potential concerns for investors who are buying bonds,” Mead said. “The technicality itself is very minor.”

Mead said the town’s attorneys suggested asking the Legislature to consider passing “a private and special act” deeming the municipal vote as valid.


The bill is being sponsored by Rep. Sharri MacDonald, R-Old Orchard Beach, and Sen. Linda Valentino, a Democrat whose district includes Old Orchard Beach. The Legislative Council, which is made up of leaders from both political parties, must agree to allow the emergency bill to be considered this session. The panel meets on April 24.

If the Legislature does not take action on the bill, Mead said the town will pursue other financing options for the project to replace the bond funds. Meanwhile, construction is scheduled to begin in two weeks.

Lee Koenigs, the library director, said she was notified of the issue this week.

“Obviously it’s a concern, but I have faith. We haven’t gotten this far without a lot of effort,” she said. “I am hopeful it will wind up working out fine.”

Supporters of the library have spent more than the last decade raising $250,000 for the project, which will more than double the size of the existing library building. Koenigs said the expansion will allow for more space for patrons, add a community room and create dedicated rooms for archival records and processing materials. A new community room and a dedicated children’s area will allow for more programs.

The project is expected to wrap up by the end of November. In the meantime, the library is operating out of the Lions Club on Saco Avenue.


Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:


Twitter: grahamgillian


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