Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Burn Baby Burn!

Treemageddon. 10/30/11

Apparently Town Manager John Musante learned nothing from predecessor Larry Shaffer's PR major malfunction--charging Boy Scouts a fund raising tax on selling Christmas trees. So it's time for yet another town manager to be taken to the woodshed.

Amherst is now trying to profit on the freak Halloween weekend snow storm that littered the landscape with tree debris by charging a $25 open air burn permit paid to Amherst Fire Department (money that will not even stay in their budget), something that has been free since 1759.

Unlike Belchertown or South Hadley, Amherst saved a bundle by failing to open an emergency warming shelter in those critical first few post-storm days, and charging folks $100 ton for the storm debris cold, weary citizens dragged to the heavily tax subsidized Transfer Station, although an advertising error later forced them, grudgingly, to reduce the price to $50 ton.

So maybe now they're trying to make up for it. Last week the town announced yet another hike in user fees (water/sewer) that amounts to $24 annually for the average user, but did so with six months notice in order to give users time to adapt. This new $25 burn fee came out of nowhere (and it is fairly well buried on the town website).

Yesterday an irate citizen called Town Hall to complain, and a Town Manager staff member was not even aware of the new charge.

Like potholes, these seemingly trivial customer service items are issues l-o-n-g remembered. Snuff out the burn fee--a penny wise increase in revenue at a ton foolish cost.

South Amherst 1/11/12 A bonfire waiting to happen


Max Hartshorne said...

HA! Deerfield and other towns picked up the debris along city streets even the thick trees, and chipped them up, free. No charge for any trees etc we want to bring to the landfill either.

That is with taxes about half as high!!

LarryK4 said...

I would move there Max, but with so little to complain about my blog hits would go up in smoke.

Anonymous said...

That is nuts. If AFD doesn't get the $ where does it go?

LarryK4 said...

The good old General Fund of the town.

The only money AFD keeps in a separate account is ambulance receipts, and that is for buying a new ambulance when the current ones get tired.

The police department generated tens of thousands last Fiscal Year in noise and nuisance ticket fines on party houses but did not keep a dime.

Anonymous said...

It would be a conflict-of-interest, don't you think?, for APD to "eat what it kills", so to speak.

Tell me again why I should subsidize your burn permit?

LarryK4 said...

Because it's the right thing to do.

And it's not MY burn permit, as I have a large capacity dump area on my property.

Anonymous said...

Anon: You are not subsidizing Larry's if he were to have one, or my burn permit, period. The inspection by the Fire Department takes about 5 minutes per household.

We have burned for over twenty years, and look forward to the friendly visit to inspect our location from the fire department.

We all subsidize each other, so to speak. My taxdollars go to services that I don't use, and vice versa.

Pretty simplistic on your part to think you are subsidizing anyones burn permit. Duh.

LarryK4 said...

And what do you wanna bet he's one of the Cowardly Anon Nitwits who defends the town subsidizing the exceedingly costly game of golf.

The Common Wealth said...

This is absurd, Amherst is quite the rural area compared to previous places I have called home and burn permits were handed out for free post-storms! This allowed the town to let citizens clean up their yards (and often the streets) while identifying who would be at risk. Just another way of Amherst shellacking people!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with January 11, 2012 7:56 PM. Just another way to squeeze another penny out of us.

Anonymous said...

How come the savings due to no snow plowing now (and no salt usage) can't pay for picking up the branches?

Anonymous said...

Just anther example of how mis-managed most of the departments are handled. Amherst will never get with the program when it comes to running efficiently. It's like watching a irresposible teenager manage a checking account. We can blame the college and the college can blame the residents all everyone wants. But untill we get to a point that we can entice businesses to come here and not make it nightmare to do so we will continue to see these increases across the board. I personally will admit if I can afford it I will be moving to a neighboring township when I retire. I can deal with the politics, I just can't tolerate the irresposibility that continues to go on and on.

Anonymous said...

Bad people control the town.

And you (you who care) can't do a thing about it.

LarryK4 said...

Wrong. On both counts.

Ed said...

No Larry, like a hopeless alcoholic, Amherst has to hit bottom before it is ready for change.