Wednesday, June 11, 2008
A sucker born...Especially in Amherst!
So of course Amherst Town Meeting, mimicking the spending habits of a drunken sailor, purchased the property on Main Street—two lots that suddenly went from $400,000 down to $270,000 when the professional appraisal (as opposed to the worried-about-his-job town assessor) came back this morning.
And if you look at the “historic” landscape now, it resembles something out of the ‘Wizard of Oz’--only the tornado deposited three tired old houses instead of just one.
Naturally Mr. Moderator (a highly-paid Amherst College employee, the same entity that donated two of the houses and paid the over $110-K moving costs to dump them on Main Street) dictated the deal only required a simple majority vote instead of the two-thirds vote that is REQUIRED anytime borrowing is involved.
And the suddenly revised motion clearly stated “appropriate $270,000 for the acquisition of said land, and to meet such appropriation, appropriate and transfer $81,000 from the Community Preservation Fund annual estimated revenues, with the additional $189,000 to be borrowed in anticipation of receipt of a grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”
But even if the state comes through with a grant of $189,000 (that could take a year or more) and we “borrow” that amount in “anticipation” of the money eventually arriving, is that not still “borrowing”? If so, tonight’s vote required a two-thirds majority.
If I borrow ten bucks from you today and give you a post-dated check (and you assume I am a premiere businessman in operation for over 26 years and would not risk image damage by bouncing a $10 check), is that not still "borrowing"?
The Dog-and-Pony Show was pretty hilarious: they even Photoshopped in a ramshackle house painted purple to illustrate what could happen if we did not buy this property right now (“This special offer ends tonight. Call now with your credit card in hand as operators are standing by!”)
And they were sooooo cocky they did not even bother to have a Standing Vote or (written) Tally Vote, almost always required for borrowing (unless the voice vote is unanimous).
Yeah, I used “Point of Order!” to ask if the Town Attorney vetted this simply majority vote concept and was told “yes”. But then, this is the same Town Attorney who says it’s okay for Awad and Hubley to live in South Hadley and remain on as Amherst Town officials.