Monday, July 27, 2009

Who's bluffing whom?


So tonight in two hours Amherst Town Meeting disposed of seven articles,raising taxes on local restaurants and hotel/motels, while giving Atkins Farm Stand (a thriving business) a tax break to expand, purchased two solar panels that are advertised to generate $2 of electricity for every dollar of investment; but denied by a vote of 96 to 78 the Jones Library an additional $34,704 to bring their budget up to minimum state standards--and risking the $70,000 to $80,000 of funding that comes with it.

Apparently less than 10% of Massachusetts' cities and towns have been granted a waiver of the state minimum threshold for funding by town tax dollars. Select Board Chair Princess Stephanie in prepared remarks (not prepared enough apparently as she went over the time limit by 22 seconds) boasted if the state rejected the certification waiver request. the Select Board would quickly call a Special Town Meeting in the fall and suggested town money would then be forthcoming.

Let's hope the state official who decides waivers doesn't read that remark and call her on it.

I voted in favor of the higher number...mainly out of pride. Amherst. where education is the number one industry, with a town seal denoting a book and plough, begging the state to drop minimum library standards.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your vote tonight, and for this thoughtful analysis: the last thing one wants to result from this is the elimination of standards for municipal library support - the SB/FC (and now, more narrowly, TM) position is a de facto endorsement of just that - what a pity....

YouKnowWhom

Anonymous said...

If you go to the town website to get information on articles in the warrant, you can see that very little time is spent providing detail information.

I.E.

ARTICLE 5. Photovoltaic Solar Panel Systems Contract
(Select Board)
To see if the Town will authorize the Town Manager to sign a five year contract with DCS
Energy for a pilot program to install two photovoltaic solar panel systems for the Department of Public
Works.

Yep, that's all. Was there more information about costs, contract, electricity generated etc or was this approved without hard data?

link

Anonymous said...

"less than 10% of Massachusetts' cities and towns have been granted a waiver of the state minimum threshold for funding by town tax dollars"

That's true but misleading, as it implies that it is difficult to get a waiver. Yes, a small percentage of towns were granted waivers -- but only a small percentage applied for them. Virtually everyone who asked for a waiver was given one (something like 26 out of 28, if memory serves). And the only towns to whom waivers were denied had cut library funding by huge percentages, far more than Amherst's cuts and far out of proportion with cuts to the rest of their budgets.

The state's stance appears to be, "We know you're hurting; just don't make your libraries hurt a lot more than the rest of the town." And we haven't.

Keith Ulrich

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, but as a Library Trustee pointed out last night, the Golf Course was allowed over a 5% budget increase.

"Virtually everyone" was not given a waiver if 2 out of 28 were denied.

And I bet in those two cases the chair of the Select Board did not previously get up in public and say that if they WERE denied the town would pony up the money.

Anonymous said...

This post doesnt go along with this topic Larry, but maybe you can do a lil write-up on this... absolutely stupid ridiculous, and almost tragic situation..
This was copied from the MassLive Amherst Forums...

This girl came very close to getting hurt very bad or killed when she played chicken with a southbound Amtrak train last week near the Cushman Market in North Amherst. You can see the video here on YouTube...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyIW0r3-ruA

u might have to copy and past the youtube link...

Anonymous said...

I'd like to think that this post this time is simply mistaken, but Mr. Kelley is too smart for this to be anything other than deliberately misleading.

If you are getting your news strictly from this blog, you are doing yourself a grave disservice.

The danger of loss of certification was completely a paper tiger, a red herring, a complete canard, but in this instance, the demagogues on the Library Trustees have teamed up with the full-time demagogue who runs this blog. Birds of a feather......

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, Mr. Kelley is W-A-Y too smart for that (but hey, at least everybody on this blog knows my name.)

I'm sure now that Town Meeting has revoted the lower number the waiver of certification will, indeed, happen (unless I get really, really motivated and make a few phone calls.)

It is, however, still EMBARRASSING.

Anonymous said...

It would be embarassing for the state library association to drop accrediation for one of the top ranked systems in the state.

Rick said...

Since you were in favor of adding $34,000 to the library budget because “education is the number one industry” in Amherst, how do you feel about the $1,379,423 cut from the Amherst Elementary School’s budget?

LarryK4 said...

I feel that Charter Schools do a much better job of education at a far cheaper price.

And the Gov seems to agree with me.

Rick said...

"A Stanford University study of charter schools in 15 states and the District of Columbia found, nationally, only 17% of charter schools do better academically than their public counterparts."

"'We find that a pretty sobering finding,' said lead researcher Margaret Raymond, director of the Center for Research on Education Outcomes."

http://articles.latimes.com/2009/jun/16/local/me-charter16

Given the huge advantage Charter Schools have, they should be clobbering public schools.

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