In a statement released this week, New Milford First is calling for a vote on expansion for New Milford Public Library.

The statement said: "Several weeks ago, [New Milford resident] Lorraine Ryan wrote a letter to the editor asking why there has been no movement on the library addition."

"It's unfortunate she is not a member of New Milford First," said party vice-chairwoman Eileen P. Monaghan, "because we've been asking that question for months."

"Almost two years ago," the statement continued, "the town council blocked a vote on the library expansion by proposing a panel to study the three major capital projects the town was facing -- the library, the ambulance and the sewer plant expansion."

According to New Milford First, "The panel was to report back with a proposed priority list for these projects. This never happened. The library lost a $500,000 state grant because of this lack of action."

"Since then," she added, "the ambulance barn and the sewer plan expansion have been approved, while the council again denied the library expansion in June."

"The library building committee had presented a plan that will bring the cost down from the original request to a workable $8 million plan," said Mrs. Monaghan, "that would have covered most of the state library board's recommendations for a town of 28,000.'

"It is not democratic that a few town council members are deciding if this project should move forward," she said. "It is time for the town's residents to decide."

"To that end," the statement read, "New Milford First has approved a drive to present a petition to the town council. The non- binding petition will request the town council bring the expansion plan to a town meeting."

New Milford First said: "There, residents can decide to approve the expansion or can call a town-wide referendum."

"The petition is designed to make the town council listen to the voice of the people who have elected them," said Mrs. Monaghan.

"The time has come," she said, "to stop playing politics with the library and let the town's residents decide."

The statement said Mrs. Monaghan taught in New Milford for almost 20 years and served on the Library Board of Trustees for 12 years.

She also was a member of the school building committee and has been involved in numerous other town activities.

Mrs. Monaghan is seeking election to the town council on the New Milford First line.

New Milford First which describes itself as " the party the major parties love to hate. Its statement said the party "offers an innovative, inclusive alternative to politics as usual."

In its first campaign in 2005, the party's candidates received about 19 percent of the vote; in 2007, two New Milford candidates were elected and its mayoral candidate, Bob Kostes, came in second among three candidates.

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