Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Town Meeting Terminates

Vince O'Connor (There's no place like home)

The 258th Annual Town Meeting dissolved last night after taking a little less than 1.5 hours to dispose of the last five articles on a lengthy 45 article warrant.

Of course over the course of those nine sessions the legislative body averaged an extra 10 minutes late coming to a quorum so that the last session could have been avoided if people had showed up on time.

Vince O'Connor ruled the night as he had three of the remaining five articles all of them "citizens petitions" that only required ten signatures to get on the warrant.

Article #44 was the most interesting of the three and since Town Meeting had taken up Article #45  last month it would be the final article of the session.

A bill promulgated by the Mass Municipal Association would allow cities and towns to tax tax-exempt entities .25% of what they would normally pay on their lands and buildings if they were regular homeowners or businesses.

Unfortunately UMass would be exempt since they are a state institution, but it would formalize payment from our other institutes of higher education, Amherst and Hampshire College.

This year Amherst College gave us $120,000 for Amherst Fire Department services, although Town Meeting earlier this session approved $190,000 in Community Preservation Act money for a fire suppression system at Amherst College owned The Evergreens, so this year it's a net loss.

But Amherst College is still the number one taxpayer in town as all of their houses rented to professors are on the tax rolls as is The Lord Jeffery Inn (or whatever they will change the name to), and unlike the town owned Cherry Hill Golf Course the college owned Amherst Golf Course also pays property taxes.

Hampshire College on the other hand pays nothing and requires AFD services almost as much as Amherst College.

 AFD Engine 1 on scene Kern Center for false fire alarm 5/23/16

Thus if they simply paid their fair share we could afford to hire a few more public safety personnel and maybe next time there's a major structure fire the first responding engine would have a full crew aboard.

Engine 1 (top center) only had 1 FF aboard upon arrival Alpine Commons

Town Meeting passed article #44 by an overwhelming majority 146-7.

Paul Bockelman, our new incoming permanent Town Manager, is a Hampshire College graduate and Director of Finance for the Mass Municipal Association.

Negotiating a strategic agreement with both Amherst College and his alma mater Hampshire College should be job #1.


Anonymous said...

Vince alays looks good in red!

Anonymous said...

Yes! At long last they will begin paying their fair share.

Anonymous said...

It matches his politics.

Anonymous said...

I trust it will be applied equally to all pf the nonprofits, including all of the political organizations & such...

And as the two UM Econ buildings aren't state property, aren't owned by UMass, wouldn't it apply to them too?