Amherst: Where even the h is silent
Only three "citizens petitions" were filed yesterday in Town Hall prior to the noon deadline for placement on the upcoming annual spring Town Meeting warrant, which begins April 27. I say "only" because the barrier to entry is so low, requiring "only" ten valid signatures.
Amherst is a town that prides itself on speaking out about issues great and small. Town Meeting is supposed to be the ultimate platform for the common man or woman. Although in our case that commonality seems all too restricted to older, white, upper-income homeowners.
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The petition article to bring paid sick leave to part time town employees was made moot by the Select Board last night, who voted unanimously to support the recommendation of the Personnel Board for part time town employees who work year-round.
The $28,000 required will be added to the budget that goes before Town Meeting and once passed will go into effect July 1st.
Proclamation articles are advisory and enacted to pretty much to make a feel good statement. Since nobody can argue -- at least successfully anyway -- against "civility, respect, kindness and friendship" pretty safe bet "Race Amity Day" will pass unanimously by (overwhelmingly white) Amherst Town Meeting.
And what would the annual Amherst Town Meeting be without at least one petition article from Vince O'Connor? Last year he had five, four of which were voted down or referred back to a committee.
Although his article to double the Community Preservation Act surcharge from 1.5% to 3% did pass handily, adding to the already outrageously high annual property taxes in town.
Apparently Vince has been studying engineering in his spare time and he considers the closed Mill Street Bridge safe enough to reopen for two way traffic.
And these three petitions that came in on the final day will join the other two filed last week: an anti-fracking advisory article and a feel good human rights declaration. As of this morning all five petitions had the required number of signatures certified for placement on the Town Meeting warrant.
Pro human rights