The order of items in the agenda was switched to allow #5 Sean Mangano, Capital Projects Manager for the School committee, to present the web tool being developed for residents to evaluate the cost of different proposals for the school projects. There seems to be agreement that the town needs to build or seriously renovate the elementary schools. The question is which general plan will be pursued and how much funding the town is willing to raise, for example through a tax override. Announcements: In preparation to submit a proposal to the MA School Building Authority in April, the school committee and superintendent will hold 6 listening sessions (schedule on school and town website). At least 2 councilors will attend each meeting, to listen, but not commit the council. March 7, 6:30 pm will be the Public Forum on the Budget at the middle school auditorium. Action Items:
- Requests for Use of Public Ways: Approvals given for (48th year) of the Farmers Market on Spring Street, the Amherst Half Marathon to benefit the Amherst Survival Center, and set up time for the Garden Club Plant Sale. Requests were approved, with one opposed, Hanneke, who questioned the fact the organizations paid no fee to the town for loss of parking spaces). Griesmer recused self from vote on the marathon as she serves on the board of the ASC.
- No residents were appointed to the Finance Committee until next budget cycle, as the process was deemed to be too far along for their participation to be meaningful. Referred to Rules of Procedure committee (unanimously) to accomplish appointments in an orderly way.
- Council Liaisons to town committees have not yet been appointed. Councilors were reminded that their role was NOT to do the work of the committee, just be available to provide information and bring findings back to the Council.
- Audit committee decision on choice of auditor failed (pro: Bahl-Milne, Pam, Hanneke; con: Brewer, Swartz, Ross, Griesmer, DeAngelis; Abstain: Dumont, Schoen, Steinberg) and was referred to Governance, Organization, and Legislation Committee, 11-2 (Dumont opposed, Schoen abstain)
Committee Reports Charge and name of Community and Economic Development Committee are being developed and will be presented next meeting. New name proposed as “Community Resources,” referring Economic Development to a Town Committee on Economic Development. Minutes Feb 6, 2019, Station Road Bridge Funding Public Forum/ and Funding approved (with abstentions from those absent). Town Manager report: Watching events at Hampshire; Community Participation Officers are meeting, want more feedback from councilors on how to engage with them. Next Cuppa Joe, March 15 at Atkins. Town Council Comments (Some) topics in pipeline Transportation, North Amherst Library plan options to be discussed by JCPC (Joint Capital Planning Committee), report on event on Tibet that honored Jim McGovern. Adjourn 10:14 pm.