Thursday, November 3, 2011

A simple gesture

Five days after the pernicious winter storm wreaked havoc, bringing death and despair throughout our entire region, with many in Amherst still without power, and schools closed for yet another day, Halloween "rescheduled", and even Town Meeting precinct meetings cancelled (bringing withdrawal to small town political junkies) Amherst needs to consider the little things that can make life just a little easier for its citizens still trying to cope.

Trees and branches were by far the number one casualty of this catastrophic event. The town has an entire tree division at the DPW and a recycling/transfer center that deals with wood on a daily basis. And of course the town owns many shade trees damaged or destroyed.

But the Powers That Be have decided only town owned deciduous dead wood will be picked up curbside by town crews over the next two weeks warning " Any tree debris placed on the side of the road from private trees will not be collected." Of course folks can lug the remains to the town transfer station and pay $50 ton.

Since the town dropped the ball by not opening a local emergency shelter to provide basic necessities--warmth being #1--something Belchertown did at a daily cost of $7,000 (without charging residents an entry fee), it would be nice to drop the Scrooge demeanor and work with our citizenry to help return life to normal--before the next storm hits.
UPDATE: Now I'm told by a reliable source that the actual price for disposal at our tax subsidized transfer station is $100/ton, but somebody made a boo boo when sending out that email blast and posting to the town website advertising the $50/ton price.

But rather than suck up and abide by what somebody put in writing (you know, like what a private sector business would do) town officials are trying to get a webmaster to change the price to the correct amount and charge that to hard pressed taxpayers.

Maybe we all should converge on the town common with a few loads of debris and a few gallons of gas and have a good old fashioned bonfire!


Anonymous said...

The town's response does seem rather perplexing. The DPW has trucks and woodchippers that are ideal for clean-up. Most residents don't have access to these tools, making the job much more onerous for us. Isn't infrastructure of this sort one of the reasons why individuals assemble into collective entities (tribes, towns, nations...)? It'd be good to get some benefit out of the high taxes we are paying.

LarryK4 said...

Yes, and today we received a robo-call from the town manager saying 20% of Amherst is still without power yet the red cross has closed the emergency shelter over in Hamp.

So if you are among those 20% without heat there is no government sponsored warming center available now.

Anonymous said...

I paid the 100/ton rate tuesday and today

nrc said...

It will probably be cheaper to pick up the brush than to put out all the brush fires that will start when folks try to burn it.

Anonymous said...

Hadley pays less than half we do for property taxes and they get curbside brush pickup after every storm

Anonymous said...

Hadley only picks up the brush from Town Trees. It is on their website and on their TV station.

You should look at the Amherst Town budget and see that most of the tax money goes to Amherst Schools.

Anonymous said...

So the school children should come and pick up the brush!

Anonymous said...

After hurricanes in our former Florida hometown, the government paid everyone who dropped off tree debris at designated transfer stations (often city parks temporarily repurposed as transfer stations). The rate was something like $25/pick-up truckload.

The speed at which the city was cleaned up was amazing. The cost per-capita was actually very low. and the goodwill was priceless.

That said, I just paid $30 to dump 3 truckloads of wood debris at Amherst transfer station. That's nothing.

Anonymous said...

By the way, open your Yellow Pages to "Trees" and you will find two pages of private businesses that "deal with wood on a daily basis".

Larry, you should be proud that our town has decided not to compete with the private sector. It has finally heard your message.

LarryK4 said...

After all these years! (A tad too late for me, however.)