Thursday, March 19, 2015

A Million Here & A Million There

Crocker Farm Elementary Pre-school playground will get $25K to meet ADA requirements

The Joint Capital Planning Committee voted unanimously this morning to support the $3,070,457 FY16 spending plan shepherded to them by Finance Director Sandy Pooler, representing 7.5% of the total town tax levy.

 Sources of funds:  taxation, ambulance revenues, Chapter 90 state aid, CPA, borrowing

Although the committee still pines for the day when the capital spending rises to 10% of the tax levy.

The only changes from last week were a result of push back by the JCPC on Mr. Pooler delaying $25,000 in to make playground equipment at Crocker Farm Elementary School ADA compliant and $10,000 (out of original $35K proposed) for studies and improvements to a resurging North Amherst Village center.  Both items are now back in for FY16, which starts July 1st.

North Amherst Village Center

Saying that this has "emptied the coffers" to cover all the requests from department heads, Mr. Pooler did point out that he reserved $25,000 for Fall Town Meeting to cover the cost of electronic voting devices for 256-year-old Amherst Town Meeting.

Looking down the road Mr. Pooler unveiled a graphic data base that depicts the impact of four major capital projects (South Fire Station, DPW, Wildwood Elementary and Jones Library expansion/renovation) on annual spending if all $57 million were to be covered by borrowing, although some of the projects will probably be financed via a "Debt Exclusion Override".

Since Amherst Fire Department has to protect all this future development it would make sense for the forever talked about new South Fire Station to go first.

Unfortunately, Town Meeting and making sense do not always go hand in hand.

Click to enlarge/read.  Red is new fire station
 Annual debt payments would triple, but decline over time
Current debt with a couple of small projects included (Fort River School roof, Kendrick Park renovation)
 Numbers for four major construction projects


Anonymous said...

When my house is on fire I look forward to Crocker Farms students putting it out.

Larry Kelley said...

I have trained my daughter well.

(Actually I taught her to call 911)

Anonymous said...

Didn't know that the preschool playground funding was at the cost of the AFD??

Larry Kelley said...

No, actually AFD, APD, the Communication Center (911 Dispatch) got pretty much full funding.

Although APD did have $10,000 for cosmetic improvements to the station HQ put off, which Mr. Pooler seemed to feel guilty about.

The JCPC did vote to have that be the number one item to get funded if any thing changes between now and when Town Meeting votes.

trussdob said...

It's unfortunately going to take a major blaze that spreads to adjoining structures, starts a substantial forest fire, and/or results in fatalities in deep south Amherst as a result of response times before Town Meeting gets it. There are parts of south Amherst that are 4-6 miles from the Central Fire Station, which itself is in the middle of an often congested downtown. Larry, do you know what the response time is historically for any locations in Amherst south of Pomeroy?

Larry Kelley said...

Well I do know it took 7 minutes to get to my apartment fire on East Hadley Road back in 1987.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:44 p.m. is from the Phony Oppositions Department.

The spending on Crocker Farm was also at the expense of starving Ethiopian children, drug rehabilitation programs nationwide, interstate highway bridge repair, and a manned mission to the planet Mars. All of those interests will now suffer because of that single line item in the budget for Crocker Farm.

Got the brilliant logic there?

Larry Kelley said...

And it is only $25,000 out of a total of $3,070,457 or .00081%

Anonymous said...

There is no piggy bank marked "South Amherst Fire Station" sitting in Town Hall, that could get raided to pay for Crocker Farm. That's not the way the budget works.

A town has to "walk and chew gum" at the same time. Serving kids does not disadvantage the Fire Department.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure they are talking about the playground you pictured, and not the one behind the school? That seems like a lot of money for that small area.

Larry Kelley said...

Yes, positive.

The money is to make it ADA compliant.

Not sure if the one behind the school is already up to code on that or not.