Amherst League of Women Voters

A Voice for Citizens, a Force for Change

Observer Corps Reports

Agendas, packets and minutes of Town Council meetings can be accessed from the Town Council web page. Videos at Amherst Media.

Town Council 3/18/19

Committee Name: 
Amherst Town Council
Meeting date: 
Monday, March 18, 2019 - 18:30
Meeting Location: 
Town Room, Amherst Town Hall
Members present: 
11 members present, and Brewer participated remotely
Members absent: 
Ross
Observer Notes: 

Hearing on school budget announced for 4/4/19, 6:30 pm at Town Hall.

Presentation by Superintendent Morris and School Committee Chair, A. Ordonnez, reporting on state of Statement of Interest Consensus for MA School Building Authority. Vote on Council support to be taken at April 1 meeting.

Action Items:

  • Big Brother/ Big Sisters petition to use of public ways for Daffodil Run April 28 was approved, 11-1 (Hanneke the sole vote against)
  • Energy and Climate Ad Hoc Committee final report accepted and committee dissolved, 12-0.
  • Community Resources and Audit Committees’ charges (endorsed by GOL committee) accepted 12-0 (in separate votes).
  • Motion by Dumont to approve Amherst’s participation in International Energy Conservation Code voting. (State has adopted and we are governed by the IECC whether we vote or not.) Motion defeated, 11-1 (Dumont sole vote in favor).

Presentation by John Hornik of Amherst Municipal Affordable Housing Trust on East Street. Current ask is to instruct the Town Manager to transfer the East Street School building to AMAHT as surplus property to start the process of development. Councilor Hanneke moved that the matter be referred to the Finance Committee to make a cost comparison between using the building for Affordable Housing and other potential development (which is not on the table). Vote was 11-1 against (only Hanneke in favor). But President Griesemer recommended that Finance Committee try to provide a rough estimate of what the size of this initial investment in the Affordable Housing project would be, for the record. It will not delay the vote. Town staff is also asked to clarify the surplus property procedures and bring to the Council.

Committee reports, Finance, Rules (Ad hoc), Outreach, Governance, By-law review, Council Goals Statement (ad hoc) had either written reports or short oral reports.

Minutes of 2/15, 3/2 (4-Towns Mtg), 3/4, 3/7 (Budget Forum) accepted in a block. 10 in favor; 2 abstentions (Brewer and Dumont).

The Town Manager reported they are carefully watching the Hampshire issue (and its effect on the town, especially security and bonds at this point). He clarified that the Community Participation Officers are support personnel, not in direct contact with constituents; warned that there would be tree work near the Merry Maple, but *MM was not being taken down*. Commended LSSE for successful outreach programs taken to “where the children are.”

The President announced that she would appoint the Community Resources and Audit Committee members (5 and 3, respectively, based on poll of councilors). In addition to 2 councilors appointed by Town Council, Town Manager will appoint 7 community members to the Energy and Climate Action Committee.

Miscellaneous:

  • Letter from State Senator Comerford
  • Citation in Celebration of 80th Year of Amherst League of Women Voters adopted unanimously (Janice Ratner presenting at hour 3:00 minutes to 3:02).
  • Topics for future meetings: Marijuana regulations, recycling update, Race Amity Day April 22.

Adjourn at 10:45

Public Comment: 
School Committee issue. One hour of public comment. Most underlining urgency of need to replace unhealthy buildings not conducive to teaching.
Affordable Housing: Elisa Campbell of LWVA reminded councilors of their support for issue in campaigning.
League Observer: 
Barbara Pearson