Friday, April 2, 2010

Opportunity lost


Since Town Manager Larry Shaffer champions the relationship with our "good friends" at Umass, and since he crafted a fairly useless five-year strategic agreement with them a few years back, and since he is now talking about a $12 million new fire station in South Amherst with renovations to North Station (on land donated by Umass) and Umass is currently constructing a $12.5 million police station immediately next door why couldn't he have worked out a deal to merge the projects thus creating a joint Public Safety building?

What the Hell, nearby sits the monster $10 million heating plant that never threw a BTU of heat. So Tilson Farm has plenty of space available.

Umass news flacks report

13 comments:

Ed said...

The problem, Larry, is people like you. Seriously.

A combined Amherst/UMass building would have to be sold to a Board of Trustees that is forever reading about how you are demanding that the university pay more money.

The trustees are not stupid (trust me, I know several personally) and when they were told that the university was paying more (per gallon) to purchase sewerage water than the town charges everyone else (per gallon) for pristine potable drinking water -- well that, I suspect, is why the proposal to bill UM for sewer water for the steam plant fell through...

And now they are to believe that the town can be trusted (over the 35 years of the bond issue) to honor all the agreements that would be necessary for a combined public safety building?

Larry, you are a businessman - would YOU agree to such a thing?

Now what I would like to see is the university take the North Station by emminent domain (which it can) and have a combined UM police/fire/ambulance outfit, with the ambulance revenue paying for the fire department (which, in the case of UMass, if you had combined Police/Fire people (as the NY Port Authority does) WOULD break even.

And it would put the wealthy folk in North Amherst into a really tight box - either the town builds yet another fire station, contracts with UM/Fire to roll on North Amherst TOWN calls, or their fire insurance rates go through the roof...

LarryK4 said...

Actually the University was paying six time less for effluent (50 cents per 1500 gallons back when the town was charging everybody else $3.00 for that same amount).

And that amount has gone up about 20% since.

Well, except for Umass who is now paying ZERO for as much effluent as they can eat.

Anonymous said...

Because we need a fire station to cover us Southies Larry!

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, both living and doing business in South Amherst kind of reaffirms that.

Took AFD just a tad over 7 minutes to get to me when we lived at Riverglade, a stones throw from where we now live--and with two young children...

Anonymous said...

Just think about how long it would take them to get to Bay Rd from North Station when that crew is out on calls. Or how long to get the call force in then get them down there. Shaffer needs to allow an increase in staffing! Why the hell have studies done when you just ignore the findings.

Anonymous said...

I meant when the central station crew is all out on calls...

Anonymous said...

I live right in the center of Amherst, on Lincoln and the last time I had to call an ambulance, it took 6 minutes to arrive...for what it's worth.

Anonymous said...

Ed, you come up with some freakin bizzare theories. WTF goes on in that head?
Please explain, without saying I think or Im guessing, how Umass could take North Station by eminant domain. Really, I'd love to hear this one.

Ed said...

Actually the University was paying six time less for effluent (50 cents per 1500 gallons back when the town was charging everybody else $3.00 for that same amount).

Three things:

First, isn't there a difference between sewer effluent and virgin water?

Second, Larry, answer honestly: would you drink/shower/etc with sewer effluent?

Third, sewer effluent flows unhindered across university land IN HADLEY and why, exactly, shouldn't they be allowed to pump the same water from the brook there?

Ed said...

Please explain, without saying I think or Im guessing, how Umass could take North Station by eminant domain.

Simple: The Commonwealth may take municipal property by eminant domain -- and has done so in the past. And has done so in Amherst.

For example, the TOWN road of Lincoln Avenue once ran through the UM campus, coming out at North Pleasant Street -- and the Commonwealth acquired the property in the late '60s, putting the FAC, Library & LRGC right in the middle of the old road.

For example, there is the municipal property of the towns of Dana, Enfield, Greenwich & Prescott - and SCOTUS upheld that.

The state outranks municipalities and can take municipal property if it so desires.

LarryK4 said...

Yes, there is a difference Ed but only as a matter of treatment.

The effluent is not treated enough to be potable but still could be. Some towns way high up in arid states do exactly that.

At 50 cents per 1,500 gallons it was still a great bargain for Umass, since the effluent replaces normal water at $3.00 per 1,500 gallons.

Meaning the last year they did pay us $40,000 for the effluent to run the old steam plant a few years earlier they had paid us $280,000 for potable water.

The Sewer treatment plant is owned and operated by the town at significant annual expenditures.

Ed said...

The effluent is not treated enough to be potable but still could be. Some towns way high up in arid states do exactly that.

Fine. You want to drink it, you can. Some of us don't live in arid states so that we don't have to drink urine...

At 50 cents per 1,500 gallons it was still a great bargain for Umass, since the effluent replaces normal water at $3.00 per 1,500 gallons.

Or water which they could pump from brooks on UM land (in Hadley) for $0.00 per whatever the hell they wanted to pump....

Meaning the last year they did pay us $40,000 for the effluent which they could have pumped for free from a brook on their own land.....

The Sewer treatment plant is owned and operated by the town at significant annual expenditures.

Which UMass pays. And thus you would have UM pay TWICE for the same water....

Anonymous said...

Where's the on-line Am Bull this week?