Town Manager and Finance Committee
The Finance Committee put final touches on a memo to Amherst voters at their Thursday night meeting which they hope the local papers -- what's left of them -- will publish prior to the November 8 election, which is shaping up to be the perfect political storm.
The Presidential contest is always four or five times more popular than our local annual town election and with this year's contest spiraling into a bad version of the Jerry Springer Show it alone would generate historic turnout.
Now add to that the state ballot question legalizing recreational marijuana, which will no doubt appeal to younger voters in a town with the lowest median age in the state, and throw in the $67 million school override which will impact homeowners in a BIG way and you have a turnout potential beyond epic.
And for the first time in history the ability to vote early (not often).
The ballot question regarding the schools is #5 after the four statewide referendum questions so maybe folks who are only interested in the Presidential contest or the recreational pot question #4 will not bother to vote on it.
But if they do the Finance Committee memo should be required reading. It outlines the major tax increase the debt exclusion will require for homeowners and our tiny commercial tax base over a 25 year period.
And, probably to the chagrin of school cheerleaders, the report also points out this is not the final chance to get Mass School Building Authority funding for either a new school or renovations if the question fails with the voters and Town Meeting.
The Finance Committee stops short of making a recommendation up or down on the November 8 vote but that could change when the question comes before Amherst Town Meeting a week later where it will require a two-thirds vote for approval.