Mary Streeter (right) presents to Joint Capital Planning Committee this morning
The Joint Capital Planning Committee, made up of major players from the Town, Schools and Library, heard a courtesy presentation this morning from Mary Streeter, Chair of the Community Preservation Act Committee.
The JCPC uses regular tax money (7.5% of the total tax levy) to fund equipment and building needs for the town of Amherst, with a total operational budget now breaking the $70 million mark.
Department heads must first get JCPC approval for capital items, but then Town Meeting has the final say, which is almost always 100% in agreement with the JCPC recommendations.
The Community Preservation Act surcharge (not to be confused with a tax he said sarcastically) will generate $920,000 this year from properties on the tax roll, combined with the state match of $239,200 (a lousy 26%), combined with $955,930 in leftover money from last year, giving them a total of $2,115,130 in their pot.
Or as Chair Mary Streeter said to the JCPC, "We're flush with money right now."
The CPA Committee is a separate legal entity and only they can bring proposals to Town Meeting, but they must be related to Open Space/Conservation, Historical Preservation, and Recreation.
Town Meeting can vote down an individual item, but cannot reuse that appropriation amount for anything else.
All nine proposals brought before the CPA committee earned their recommending for a total of $523,346 ; plus the debt service on previous projects of $321,527; plus the $1,750 annual dues for CPA lobbying group; bringing the total appropriation to $846,633.
That then leaves a balance of $1,268,497 or, still "flush with money."
CPA Committee may consider another round of funding for Fall Town Meeting
Jewish Community Synagogue steeple repair, a significant project ($175,000), did not make it to final approval because it was withdrawn by the petitioners before the final committee vote was taken, although Ms. Streeter suggested it probably would not have been approved.
The JCPC then moved on to an overall discussion of all the presentations they have heard over the past two months. Finance Director Sandy Pooler told the committee that pretty much everything was funded except he pushed off until next year $25,000 for Crocker Farm School playground repairs and $35,000 for North Amherst Center Studies and Improvements.
Both of which generated push back.
Select Board member Connie Kruger pointed out things are happening in North Amherst now and pushing that money back sends the wrong message. School Committee Chair Katherine Appy suggested parents would be unhappy with the delay of the Crocker Farm playground upgrade, which is both a safety and aesthetic quality of life issue.
Mr. Pooler (metaphorically removing his Grinch hat) promised to rework the overall proposal one more time.
The $145,116 gap was filled by using unspent leftover money from previous capital appropriations