Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Town Meeting Strikes Again

Amherst Town Meeting counted standing vote

Two episodes from Monday night's Town Meeting 3rd session, one amusing one not so much.

During a discussion of borrowing $322,000 for mega lawnmowers used to groom the massive amount of open space property the town owns, member Shavahn Best moved to reduce the amount by over one-third and have the DPW shop on the Internet for battery operated mowers.

When DPW Chief Guilford Mooring threw up a photo of the mower in question there was little question as to whether an electric mower could do the job.  Actually no question at all.

Town Meeting overhead of DPW mower request

Town Meeting almost unanimously voted to spend $151,000 for 20 acres of open space property (2/3 state money) in East Amherst, the same property they voted down 72 "Yes"-90 "No" back in the Fall when it required a two-thirds vote to pass.

Town officials, not taking any chances, removed the term "eminent domain" from the article and since the town was using CPA money ($41,785) it then only required a majority vote. Not that it mattered since the "Yes" votes were thunderous.  

The very next article Town Meeting once again near unanimously voted (death to the lone malcontent) to place on the November ballot a doubling of the CPA tax from 1.5% to 3%. 

Amherst already has the highest property tax rate in the area ($20.97/$1,000 compared to Hadley $10.64/$1,000).

The huge financial burden for homeowners in Amherst is they make up 90% of the tax rolls and commercial property only 10%.  Even more debilitating, half the property in Amherst is owned by tax-exempts, meaning the other half -- home and business owners -- have to carry twice the weight.

That tax exempt disconnect only worsened with the 20 acres in East Amherst acquired by the town on Monday night.

And if you are a commercial property owner, the first $100,000 in valuation is NOT exempt from CPA (costing you an additional $62.37).   If you own property in the downtown, there's the Business Improvement District extra surcharge to pay as well.

When Town Meeting voted an increase in the water/sewer rates the Town Manager defended it as "only" a couple dollars per month.  Now the CPA tax increase will add "only" $69 per year to the average home ($113 for a commercial property).

Adding to an annual tax burden that's already too big a burden.  More so if you own commercial property.  Even more so if it's located in the downtown BID area.

No wonder Amherst is considered an unforgiving place to do business. 


They don't even say please anymore said...

Oh come on Larry,
you can't build a paradise
with chump change, can you?

Seriously, how would you have them do it?

Besides, don't we have a moral responsibility to fund their careers?

I mean, this isn't some underhanded process for wealth creation.

We're finally able to give everything we have to people who actually ~deserve~ it.

People ~just~ like us.


-Squeaky Squeaks

Anonymous said...

get a job you dirty little sewer rat.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with push mowers? Or goats?

Larry Kelley said...

Yeah, I was going to suggest a flock of sheep.

Anonymous said...

You mean Town Meeting?

Anonymous said...

Just pave it, finally!

Anonymous said...

I swear the little lady in the center of the photo is from Wendy's "Where's the Beef?" ads.

Anonymous said...

That's not Town Meeting.

That's an AARP convention. Larry, get your photos straight.

Hold onto your wallets! said...

"get a job you dirty little sewer rat."

Jesus Geryk.

Why not give that ole plunger a try?

You know,

the one in Mazur's closet.

-Squeaky Really Saves