Police Station was derided as "too big"; Town Hall renovation "too expensive."
The picture of what four major building projects looming on the not so distant horizon will look like is quickly developing -- like one of those classic Polaroid instant photos -- and the results are nothing less than shocking.
At the Finance Committee meeting Wednesday night members engaged in a one hour discussion of the BIG picture i.e. an overview of all four projects, something that has not been done to date.
Finance Committee. Kay Moran's final meeting (out with a bang)
Co-acting chief financial officer Claire McGinnis filled in the Town Meeting financial advisers with the latest dollar figures that Amherst will need to come up with exclusive of the state money involved with the Library expansion and new Mega School.
The projected grand total is a whopping $105.5 million dollars, or one-tenth of a BILLION: $33 million each for the new elementary school and DPW building. $22 million for the new South Fire Station. And $17.5 million for the Jones Library expansion.
Although Library Director Sharon Sharry puts the number at $20 million of town money with the Library attempting to raise $5 million in private fund raising.
Finance Committee member Steve Braun lamented the current state of affairs saying the process has been "skewed" by the state grants and the two projects (Library & School) involved have -- almost unfairly -- gone to the head of the line.
Others joined in, complaining that "affordability for the average taxpayer" has not been an overall priority and each individual project seems to act like they are the only project. Kind of like those college professors who piled on work like they were the only course you were taking.
Outgoing Finance Committee Chair Kay Moran said, "It will come down to which projects the people wish to pay for."
That supposes of course that all four will be put to the voters as an Override, but that may not necessarily be the case. Town Meeting twice approved Overrides for Town Hall renovations 20 years ago and both times the voters said "no".
Town meeting then went ahead and did it anyway by use of borrowing, which also required a two-thirds vote, but bypassed the voters.