Charter Question passed with a 60% majority 2,039 to 1,340
The Amherst Charter Commission overcame ideological differences and voted unanimously in favor of a $30,000 request to Town Meeting for overhead costs over the next year or so, mainly in the form of a professional consultant or two.
Motion states "for engaging consulting services"
Click to enlarge/read
The Commission spent an hour discussing the pros and cons but very early in the process they all agreed by consensus that a consultant or two would definitely be required.
Amherst Charter Commission (meeting in the Bangs Community Center)
The three skeptical members -- Meg Gage, Gerry Weiss and Diana Stein -- were concerned the Commission was asking for too much too early in the process.
But they were convinced by the other six who favored the $30,000 from the start, but said it would most likely be necessary to go to the Fall Town Meeting to ask that some of that money be reallocated to other Charter related expenses unrelated to consulting.
Andy Churchill, now Commission Chair, had written and submitted the Town Meeting article early in the process in order to make the deadline for this upcoming session, and now it's too late to change the wording to broaden it beyond use of "consultants".
They all agreed to divvy up a list of towns in the state who are engaged in or recently finished the Charter process to ascertain what they spent and for what services.
Article 35 will probably not come up until late May, so they have time do research and come up with data to support their request.
The Charter Commission also voted to set their first state mandated Public Forum for Thursday, May 12th in the Amherst Regional Middle School auditorium from 7:00 PM until 9:00 PM.
Annual Town Meeting starts May 2nd with a 45 article warrant, 13 of them "citizens petitions," which are often time consuming.
Meanwhile, meeting at the same time over in Town Hall the Select Board announced the three finalists for permanent Town Manager:
#amherstma Finalists for town manager are Paul Bokelman of Somerville, Maria Capriola of Willimantic, CT & William Fraser of Montpelier, VT— scott merzbach (@scottmerzbach) April 11, 2016