Sunday, October 26, 2008

CPA snafu

So the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has decided: the precedent setting case is now the law of the land (Massachusetts land that is): A community cannot use CPA funds to improve or rehabilitate land that was purchased prior to the creation of the CPA.

Like our Plum Brook Weeds, errrrrr, I mean Soccer fields--land purchased in 1974 for conservation/recreation and thirty years later expensively fine tuned into a more specific recreational pursuit, although still not ready for Prime Time.

While the court did not decide whether to grandfather projects already illegally completed (such as Plum Brook) they did clearly say: “We also have been urged to specify that our interpretation will be applied prospectively such that our ruling will have no effect on CPA appropriations already expended by municipalities throughout the Commonwealth. This issue has not been raised by the parties, and we reserve opinion on the matter until it is properly presented.”

Either way, The People’s Republic of Amherst was greedy enough to leverage CPA funds by taking out a large loan repaid over ten years.

So now you have to wonder: where is Amherst going to find the $40,000 annual loan payment over the next five or six years to retire the original $500,000 loan?

If Amherst cannot expend legally and properly the money it gets with the 1.5% CPA tax, how can we trust them with doubling that tax burden to 3%?

My original "I told you so"

The Boston Globe Reports (yeah, the Crusty Gazette will get around to it)


robert said...

The committee which approved Plum Brook was
working at the behest of the Seppala-Schiffer Select Board under Barry del Castilho. The Awad-Hubley
board opposed spending any money on Plum Brook,
not only for the reasons the court outlined, but also because the site was not suited to engineering -other than by the beavers who originally created the meadow there - it is too wet!

The CPA committee members who approved that stupid project have all been replaced by the
Select Board members you love(d) to hate (they're
all gone now). And thanks to watchdogs like them
(and you, dear Larry) the likelihood of more Plum
Brooks in the future is less (but not zero).

Your eternal vigilance is appreciated, even by those only occasionally agree with you!

However, your conclusion about the CPA surcharge is unfounded: The CPA funds other things that are important for your customers and for your neighbors and for your daughters' friends (even if they are not important to you directly).

Why would you starve the CPA? If your daughters at too much candy at Hallowe'en this year, would you starve them for the rest of the year? Or would you teach them about eating more healthful food?
Like Alan Greenspan, your ideology is getting in the way of reality - you're smarter than that, Larry!

LarryK4 said...

And a few days ago we also saw how the use of “Historical Preservation” CPA monies ($81,000) went down the tubes—or I should say went back into the CPA Account--because the state refused to give us a matching Urban Self Help Grant (you know the kind of grant that brought us the white elephant Cherry Hill Golf Course) for the two building lots on Main Street; and even then those combined funds would have not have been enough.

Yeah, I would starve the CPA (let them eat cake--or whatever it is the senior citizens are eating to survive in this unholy economic time.)

Anonymous said...

This CPA fund is an embarrassment. It was originally sold to us as a way to preserve open space and the the next thing you know it's being used to polish the doorknobs on town hall. If town hall's exterior needs refurbishing it should fit into our current town budget, not as part of a stealth tax increase sold as land conservation.

Gibber said...


What's the latest with the investigation into the bus accident? I hear that the van they sent to pick up the victim's sister (her first day back!!!) BROKE DOWN with her ON IT!! Remember what I told you about transportation? Eh?

How long before we have multiple deaths/injuries?!!!?

How long, Amherst?

Anonymous said...

And which select board group was it that fouled up the free labor offer from the army corps of engineers? Kids would be playing soccer there by now if that hadn't happened.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, but I bet those darn military folks would have wanted to fly a flag from their bulldozers (while doing the job for free)

Anonymous said...

You betcha! ;)