Sunday, November 16, 2014

Economic Czar Required?

Amherst property tax base is only 10% commercial, 90% housing

With the recent unanimous endorsement for Amherst to hire an "Economic Development Director" coming out of the year long Town Gown Steering Committee project, combined with the Town Manager's strong endorsement in his Letter of Transmittal to the Select Board for the FY15 budget year (which starts 7/1/15), safe bet the position will make it into the town budget in the next year or two.

Of course with the NIMBYs specifically targeting development, the position will be a hard sell at the annual Town Meeting.

While members do not have line-item veto the usual scheme is to move to reduce the budget by the exact amount of the targeted item and then in your speech say specifically what position it is you want cut if Town Meeting approves the $77,100 reduction in the Operation Budget.

Something like that requires a majority vote to pass, rather than the much higher hurdle of a zoning article, which requires the super-majority of a two-thirds vote.  

After the 11/5 Town Meeting, where more than a majority of members voted for a hastily crafted,  ill conceived zoning article to saddle developers with a deal killer "affordable housing" requirement, I'm not so sure anything associated with "development" can safely pass Town Meeting with a majority vote.

Members are also going to say the position is unnecessary because Amherst already has both a  Chamber of Commerce and a Business Improvement District.

And everyone knows, "Too many cooks spoil the broth."


1st Tally Vote was to refer the affordable housing article back to the Planning Board (A polite way of killing it).  That failed 83 "Yes" to 107 "No".   Thus the 2nd vote was an up or down vote on the article as presented.  That failed to achieve the necessary two-thirds vote, BUT did garner a majority vote 110 "Yes" to 79 "No". 

And yes, Town Manager John Musante (unlike previous town managers) did vote.  The right way even.


Anonymous said...

Great photo - from what location was this taken?

Anonymous said...

Too many cooks certainly CAN spoil the broth. Just ask these guys:

Larry Kelley said...

Anon 6:58 pm
I took that photo a couple years ago from the top of Ladder 1 (with a 102' aerial ladder) parked in front of Central Station at AFD Open House.

Anonymous said...

Any prospective economic development director in Amherst needs to be prepared to be vilified and demonized as our Planning Director has been in recent years.

The ostensibly smiling folks doing the demonizing claim to be kind to small animals, children, the poor, the mentally handicapped, and the otherwise downtrodden, but think nothing of ripping away (including attacks in the newspaper) at the integrity and motives of someone who works in Town Hall.

I'm not sure how many people are up for that.

Anonymous said...

From one perspective $77,000 seems low if they're actually trying to attract the kind of person with a proven track record of success in any environment like Amherst.

From another perspective, $77,000 seems like a bargain if it can shift blame and provide insulation for those to whom the econ dev dir will report.

Dr. Ed said...

Economic development in Amherst involves UMass Students spending their money in Amherst and not elsewhere.

Why do they spend it elsewhere?

Well, why do they go to bars in Springfield???

Dr. Ed said...

Larry, if thats 100 feet, then you are WAY over 400 feet with some of those drone shots.

A few looked like you were at about 1000 feet -- I say that as one who has taken pictures from the copilot's seat of airplanes at that altitude.

I don't believe you are supposed to be over 400 feet....

Just sayin....

Larry Kelley said...

I would imagine it's kind of like a drunk driving arrest.

The cops have to actually witness it while he/she is in the act of driving.

So I don't think the FAA will be sending agents to Amherst any time soon to look for me.

Dr. Ed said...

"it's kind of like a drunk driving arrest.'

No, more like under-aged drinking.

If you're 19 years old and you post pictures of yourself with a beer can in your hand -- and someone decides to forward that to the UM Admin, well, it's happened.

(Remember the "KKK9+1"?

Using math and the known (or measured) height/size of things on the ground, it isn't difficult to determine the altitude of the camera when a picture was taken. Pretty much the same way that a GPS works.

The FAA doesn't have to actually see you flying your drone above 400 to bust you -- not when you give them evidence...

Kinda like the idiots who take pictures of themselves driving stolen vehicles -- and then get busted for it.