After 60 years of tariff-free trade on a ritual that marks the transition into the Christmas season for generations of Amherst residents, the Grinch has finally gotten his due: $1 per tree.
Yes, Town Manager Larry Shaffer got mugged by Umass in the ‘Strategic Agreement’ and walked away from $30,000 in annual rent for a municipal golf course that will cost taxpayers that amount this year, but--by God--put him at the table with Boy Scouts of America and he takes no prisoners.
Operated entirely by volunteers, the Amherst Boy Scouts Christmas Tree Sale on Kendrick Park raises money for hometown Troops 500 and 504 to help offset scout related expenses, including scholarships for those who can’t afford the required summer camping.
So it’s not like this is a BIG business generating profits surreptitiously slipped in a back pocket, or applied towards a new Lexus.
The 40-50 Amherst and Pelham Boy Scouts do plenty of volunteer work for their merit badges including food collection for The Survival Center, clearing our extensive Conservation Trails, or helping distribute 3,000 candles on the first anniversary of 9/11.
And while a dollar may sound trivial on trees priced at $35 or $40, last year former Scout Master Bill Hart estimated the entire month-long endeavor generated between $4,000 and $6,000 in net profit. So Amherst’s cut of $775 in rent, amounts to a tax on “profits” of 13%!
Doing ones duty to God and country shouldn’t be so taxing.