Monday, September 17, 2007

FY09 Priorities

Here's the first emailed feedback the Select Board has received re: FY09 Budget Priorities. Please come to Town Hall Thursday September 20 -- yes, this week! -- to share and to listen from 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm. I'll post anything I get electronically without the sender's e-mail address and just showing first name last initial, so you don't feel like you've missed anything:-)

Sent: Monday, September 17, 2007 8:06:46 PM
To: Select Board

First, I commend you for the approach you are initiating this year. I believe we could save a great deal of time and energy during Town Meeting if we could spend more time up front ensuring that the Town Manager's budget was, in fact, prioritized.

I appreciate the difficulty of the choices that have to be made. Here is my input for your review and consideration:

I strongly believe that we have to stop trying to do public safety on the margins. We need to have an adequately-staffed force to respond to all manner of incidents, specifically UMass's out-of-control students. The police are overworked during the school year and do not have adequate resources to address other aspects of public safety, e.g., traffic enforcement, community policing, etc.

The fire/EMS is also chronically understaffed, and many times the first responders are college students, not professionals.

UMass needs to be forced into paying what it actually incurs; I suggest we start billing them in 18 months' time for actual costs, not some PILOT shell game like we do now.

We need to adequately fund the schools. All children are being short-changed, and the effects of the past four years are going to take many years to undo. The physical plant at Wildwood is appalling - it seems the school hasn't had cleaning or upgrade since it was built almost 40 years ago. And, the design is for an educational fad that failed, leaving kids in cramped, noisy, really dreadful "classrooms."

We need a staff position that addresses two issues on a full-time basis: economic growth/development and UMass relations.

We need to upgrade all major intersections in downtown - Rte 9/116, Amity/University Dr., Triangle/N. Pleasant. They can't accommodate the traffic they should, resulting in huge impacts to residential neighborhoods.

We need to actually cut some services. You decide which ones, but we can't keep funding everything on the backs of staff who are cut.

Phil J

Bring your priorities this Thursday Sept 20 7:00 pm

Town of Amherst

Press Release
September 11, 2007

Select Board Schedules Public Hearing to Solicit Comment on Budget Priorities

Questions Regarding Press Release:

Gerry Weiss, Chair, Select Board - 413.259.3001
Laurence Shaffer, Town Manager - 413.259.3002

At its meeting of September 10, 2007, the Select Board of the Town of Amherst decided to schedule a public hearing to solicit input on community priorities for the upcoming FY 2009 Town of Amherst Budget. The public hearing shall be held as follows:

Select Board FY 2009 Budget Priorities Public Hearing
Town Room, Town Hall
4 Boltwood Avenue
Amherst, MA 01002
7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Select Board intends to deliver priority guidelines to the Town Manager prior to the creation of the Town Manager's budget and simultaneous with the fiscal guidelines established by the Finance Committee. The priority guidelines will be established, in part, from input received from members of the community. The Select Board's priority guidelines may then be incorporated into the Town Manager's budget proposal scheduled to be delivered to the Select Board on or before January 16, 2008. For those who wish to comment but are not able to attend the public hearing, written comments may be submitted on or before October 15th as follows:

FY 2009 Budget Priorities Public Hearing
Amherst Select Board
4 Boltwood Avenue
Amherst, MA 01002
Or: E-mail

Gerry Weiss, Chair, Amherst Select Board said, "It is very important that the Select Board receive public comment regarding priorities on the upcoming budget before the fiscal discussion of the FY 2009 budget begins. That will allow the Select Board an important head start in the budgetary process. It will also assist the Select Board in completing its obligation to fix policy prior to the Town Manager's budget. I hope that you will be able to attend the public hearing on Thursday, September 20th."

Phone: (413) 259-3001
Fax: (413 259-2405

PRP Public Works Recommendation

From: "Select Board"
Date: September 17, 2007 11:25:34 AM EDT
To: "Awad, Anne""Weiss, Gerald""Kusner, Rob""Greeney, Hwei-Ling""Brewer, Alisa" "Shaffer, Larry"
Subject: FW: Larkspur Drive

From: Rob Crowner
Sent: Monday, September 17, 2007 11:26:01 AM
To: Select Board
Cc: Manager, Town; Mooring, Guilford
Subject: Larkspur Drive
Auto forwarded by a Rule

Dear members of the Select Board:

At its meeting of September 11, 2007, the Public Works Committee voted to recommend that the Select Board consider attaching to the PRP re-zoning article(s) that may soon come before Town Meeting a requirement that a roundabout be installed at the boundary of the PRP and residential districts on Larkspur Drive.

This requirement may be accomplished in various ways that are beyond the charge of the Public Works Committee to comment upon, but the committee believes that a roundabout is a feasible and desirable option to address some of the issues that have stalled past attempts to amend the PRP zone characteristics. Among the potential benefits that the committee considered are speed reduction and a clearer distinction between the residential and PRP districts on Larkspur Drive.

The committee's vote was 5-0 to make this recommendation. Please do not hesitate to request clarification if necessary, and thank you for your attention to this matter.

For the Public Works Committee,
Robert J. Crowner, chair

Special Town Meeting Fall 2007 Warrant Articles

When your sinuses are too messed up to breathe, post reference material instead of original thought...

Here's the draft list of warrant articles for Special Town Meeting Fall 2007. The deadlines for both citizen and committee and department articles passed Friday September 14 at noon, so nothing new should show up at Special Town Meeting Fall 2007 that isn't on this list. Obviously this list is still very much a draft in terms of descriptions, so don't bang anyone on the head with it!

November 5, 2007 Annual Town Meeting
List of Articles

FY 08 Budget Amendments
a. Health Insurance
b. Regional Lockup Assessment

Accept MGL Ch.59, Cl.5 Section 5B Property Tax Exemptions for Veterans Orgs

Capital – Marks Meadow Portable Classrooms – JCPC

Petition – Resolution - Fair Trade (Yuri Friman)

Transfer funds from Senior Trust to Friends of Senior Center 501c3

Spring Street Rezoning – Official Zoning Map & Zoning Bylaw [Planning Board Hearing opened September 5, continued to October 3]

College/South East Street Rezoning – Official Zoning Map [Planning Board Hearing Wednesday September 19]

Technical/Professional Offices – Zoning Bylaw [Planning Board Hearing Wednesday October 17]

Research & Industrial Uses – Zoning Bylaw [Planning Board Hearing Wednesday October 3]

R&D Overlay District – Zoning Bylaw & Official Zoning Map [Planning Board Hearing Wednesday October 3]

Accessory Light Manufacturing – Zoning Bylaw [Planning Board Hearing Wednesday October 3]

500-502 Sunderland Road – Official Zoning Map (Bergstrom) [Planning Board Hearing Wednesday October 17]

CPAC – Open Space Tietjen APR

CPAC – Open Space Cushman Brook Corridor Project (Self help Grant)

The TMCC sent the date for the warrant review meeting today: Thursday, October 25th at 7:00 p.m. at the Middle School auditorium.

Check out the Town website for updated information on Special Town Meeting Fall 2007.