Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Depends on how you define value

UPDATE: 1:15 PM

This from today’s Gazette concerning the $5,000 CPA request for an appraisal:

But Ziomek said his department can use existing CPA money to complete the $2,500 to $3,000 appraisal, and doesn't believe there is a need to add to the fiscal year 2010 requests.

Hmmm…if the appraisal total is only $2,500 to $3,000 (forgetting for the moment they already have the funds stashed away to cover that) why request $5,000? Ah yes, government work.
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The CPA Committee controls a large pot of money the town spends like a pickpocket using a stolen credit card. And they just received $600,000 in gimme, gimme requests. One of the smallest was for $5,000 to complete the appraisal for 20 acres of property on Meadow Street owned by Leigh Andrews and Don Laverdiere.

You gotta of course wonder if the "appraisal" will include the $500,000 the landowners spent in legal fees and the $150,000 the town spent fighting over that piece of property.

Town Meeting spot rezoned the property Flood Prone Conservancy to prevent development and keep it as open space (would not want to scare any cows.) After a protracted battle in Land Court the judge sided with the property owners and overturned Town Meeting. The town appealed and, against the odds, won. But a costly battle it all was.

Normally I’m not in favor of using tax money to buy property to prevent development thus reducing the tax base (yes, the Cherry Hill Golf Course springs to mind); and with Amherst more than half owned by tax-exempts about the last thing we need to do is take more property off the tax rolls.

But in this particular case, after Town Meeting mugged the landowners they deserve to be treated fairly for once. And with Czar Awad long gone, Vince O’Connor and Rob Kusner (Amherst’s Axis of Evil) now marginalized, regrettable incidents like this should become a thing of the past.

But then, this is the People's Republic...

2 comments:

Ed said...

Why is it that everyone wants to see money from UMass when - as Larry points out here - half the property in town is tax exempt?

A fair approach would be to ask all to contribute equally based on best use (not current use) of their property. And as much of UMass is designated wetlands (swamps) that could not be built on under any circumstance, a whole lot of other folk would be asked to pay (collectively) a whole lot more than UMass....

And how many jobs do the other tax exempt properties create? UMass has over 6000 full time employees, several thousand more part timers and then the contractors and vendors.

Fair is fair...

Ed's brain said...

this is a post about a budget item for the town of Amhest

can't get UMass out of my head...

UMass swmapland, UMass payment in lieu of taxes, sewer, water, ambulance, swampland, swampland, UMass, UMass, UMass, UMass