Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Charter Commission Outreach

9 member Amherst Charter Commission met at Police Station last night

In their 3rd meeting in a 3rd different location -- "the nomadic Charter Commission" quipped Chair Andy Churchill -- the nine Commissioners first discussed the Town Meeting request for $30,000 towards overhead expenses and came to the conclusion the amount was more than justifiable.

Although they will most likely come back to Town Meeting in the fall to change the wording of the article to allow broader interpretation of what services the money can buy.

Currently the article restricts spending to a consultant and the Commission will have plenty of other expenses like mailing, printing, and advertising.

 Motion states "for engaging consulting services
Click to enlarge/read

The rest of the meeting was taken up with discussion of the fast approaching initial Public Hearing scheduled for May 12 at the Amherst Regional Middle School auditorium, which is also the same venue for Amherst Town Meeting.

Audience member Maurianne Adams, an unsuccessful candidate for the Commission, summed up the outreach strategy to a series of related open-ended questions:   "What do you value in Amherst?"  What would you change?  What would you not change?"; What are the major problems now facing Amherst and who would you want addressing them?"

The Commission seemed happy to let that be their guide.

Chair Andy Churchill will also prepare a brief three to five minute introduction outlining the mission of the Charter Commission (which will also appear on their webpage) since the hope is to attract a broader swath of the town rather than the "usual suspects" who live and breath town government. 

A Facebook page will allow for timely postings and public comments while the main webpage located on the town website will act as the "mother ship."  The entire Commission can be reached by email at: charter@amherstma.gov.

The first public notice for the May 12th hearing will appear in local newspapers this Friday and Commission members hope for lots of sharing on social media.


Anonymous said...

How will the Charter Commission contact the students at Amherst College, UMass and Hampshire College? Rentors and low-income people? Parents with kids in the schools? Older residents?

Anonymous said...

No students at Amherst College are residents of Amherst. They maintain their residence where their parents live. The same goes for almost all of Hampshire and most of UMass.

Kevin said...

Out of 22,973 residents, three hundred fifty nine Amherst Residents (from the Feb 10, 2015 residents list from the state) show a Residential Address of "AMHERST COLL".

5,137 Amherst Residents list their residential address at "UM" in zip code "01003".

7,203 Amherst Residents list their occupation as "Student", the oldest being 69 years old.

Go figure.