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Cindy April 17, 2014 at 01:20 PM
Make no mistake about it Old Timer (aka BB), my husband is NOT leaving because of Jim O'Mara! JimRead Moreis a good leader whose hands have been cuffed by the BOS and meddlers like you.
Bruce Bowler April 18, 2014 at 06:34 AM
Cindy I hate to tell you and Mark and others (Overholt), but Old Timer and Taxpayer isn't me. IRead Morewoul d have no problem putting my name to any comment if I make one on Patch. Enjoy Townsend and all their issues. Bruce
Bill Overholt April 18, 2014 at 10:11 AM
Bruce - I apologize for suspecting you, and am happy Old Timer and Taxpayer are not you. An I hope Read Moreyou will comment more on these pages.
Bill Overholt March 30, 2014 at 10:00 PM
I don't think this comment from "old timer" is worthy of a response. If the "oldRead Moretim er" really had something useful and relevant to say, he should say it using his own name. He is a coward. BTW - are you a BB?
M Foley March 31, 2014 at 09:24 AM
Couldn't agree more Bill. It should also be pointed out that Old Timer and his friends (Dump Talk,Read MoreT ax Payer, Etc) have been completely wrong in their previous attempts to discredit that the BOS and the TA. No late Right To Know requests, no lawsuits, no icebergs, nothing. They should take their own advice and kick themselves down the road.
Terri Behm March 28, 2014 at 08:11 AM
Roger, our current recreation director is retiring today. I suspect the only thing you would see on Read Morea ballet is a proposal to remove a position rather than filling an existing one. Nancy has worked very hard to provide a wide range of activities and services for the people of Amherst. I don't think the average citizen realizes how much work goes into having a well-run program. Thank you for years of dedication, Nancy!
Roger13 March 29, 2014 at 10:53 AM
Terri,This isn't about Nancy, I don't know her. Since she is retiring, this would be a good time to Read Moreeliminate the position. This town must stop their tax and spend policy. A 1300 square foot condo tax bill for this fiscal year is in excess of $7000. Roger
Katie Button April 01, 2014 at 09:13 AM
Roger13, Recreation Departments actually increase property values. If you want to see people runRead Moreev en faster away from Amherst, eliminating the Recreation Department would be a first step in that direction.
Bill Overholt April 05, 2014 at 11:31 AM
George (whoever you are)... With all due respect, some information on catch basins and drainage: Read MoreT he reason for the increase in catch basins in the village is two fold. 1) Even though the village has lots of sand that does drain, it also has a lot of impervious surfaces - roads, sidewalks, house foundations, etc. 2) the village is also very flat or level, so that there is little surface drainage. The result is that the top few feet of soil become saturated and the water runs under the pavement. Then, when winter comes, it causes frost heaves and cracks the pavement, allowing more water to infiltrate. If you look at some of the failed roads in the village you will see "alligator cracking" where the roads have deteriorated beyond repair. The purpose of the catch basins is to take the water away from the pavement and bring it to a lower level. If you drive through the village after a heavy rain, you will find huge puddles in the streets and in adjacent driveways and lawns. Courthouse road was one of the worst before it was rebuilt - it is now a model of a good road. When the work is done right, it will never have to be done again.
George April 05, 2014 at 03:37 PM
Bill, with all due respect, you're repeating what someone told you and they were in error. IRead Moreagree you must get the water away from the road; this is why ditching is so important. Where ditching was not done the roads failed. I'm, sure you can see that. The amount of impervious material in the village is not the issue. Proper drainage is. I would point to the pond that used to occupy the ground in front of Mike's Auto. A catch basin was there, but it was installed improperly and the pond developed. When it was redone correctly the problem was solved. Courthouse Rd failed because the land on either side of the road built up over the years. If you keep apply sand and salt all winter, the sand remains in the spring. It was never removed thus confining all the water to the road way. The original plans called for that road to be raised but the citizens along the road rejected that. Had the roadway been "ditched" every spring there would not have been such a problem. Your last statement is a hoot. You'll not live long enough to see the issues, but you can't make a permanent road in NH without maintenance, and from time to time it will have to be redone. Rte 13 to Mont Vernon is an example. It has been done twice in my lifetime. The issue here is cost. Amherst is not making I93, it is making rural and suburban roads, but the specifications for Boston Post and Foundry St read like I93. No reason to spend that much on a road. 20 years from now it will still have to be redone and we'll never finish paying off the line of credit. Note, line of credit not bond. Seems people in charge of the books failed to due audits in a timely fashion so all we could get is a line of credit. Fortunately this has been corrected, no thanks to the Town Treasurer.
Bill Overholt April 05, 2014 at 05:26 PM
George (why don't you use your real, full name?) I don't know where you get your information, but Read Moreyou're dead wrong. 1) I never said the roads don't have to be maintained. I said that if done correctly, they will never have to be rebuilt. Maintenance must be done; the cost of resurfacing a good two lane road is on the order of $50K to $125K per mile, and should be done every 5 to 7 years. The cost of rebuilding is on the order of $400K to $800K per mile. If properly maintained, a properly built road will last many many years and will probably never have to be rebuilt barring unforeseen circumstances like a major flood. 2) The problem with most roads in the town is that the were never built for today's traffic or even with consideration of what is below the surface. There is ledge, loam, sand, and even the old corduroy road logs. Additional courses of asphalt over the years, sometimes used as shimming to build up low spots, have cause the paving to vary from 2 to 12". These various substrates have different coefficients of expansion when frozen causing the roads to heave and break the surface. 3) There is no ditching in the village, there shouldn't be. As I mentioned before, the slopes in the village would not allow for sufficient runoff. 4) Courthouse and the other village roads were never planned to be raised. In fact, some have been lowered in places in the past because of the flooding of properties adjacent to the roads. A number of years ago, the water even ran into Moulton's store before the road was lowered and catch basins installed. 4) You're correct - the catch basin in front on Mikes was put in badly a number of years ago. 5) I don't know what you mean line of credit not bond. We have a line of credit up to $#15M at the bank so that we can take out bonds as needed. That was approved at town meeting on a warrant article in 2011. 6) Your remark about the town treasurer is uncalled for. The previous town administrator and the previous finance director are responsible for the audits not being done on time, not the treasurer. I also have no idea why you bring the audit issue up in a discussion on the roads. If you would like to discuss this further, I am in the phone book.
steve forte March 21, 2014 at 01:21 PM
How about unions? Do you intend to get union money out of politics too?
Bill Overholt March 21, 2014 at 02:47 PM
Yes. We sould get all outside moeny out of politics and move to A system many other democraciesRead Morehav e. Limited campaign time and government-funding only. That way, we would get politician who are not beholden to ANY contributor. Could that happen? I'm not at all optomistic that such a sea change will ever happen without a major scandle
George March 27, 2014 at 05:37 AM
You've forgotten a couple of things. First, this only gets corporate money out, not union. Unions Read Morewould still be free to give as much as they want. Second. this doesn't prevent special interest groups from contributing, think trial lawyers. Third, SCOTUS has already ruled on this and said money = speech, see 1st Amendment. I'm sure we all feel good about passing this resolution, but it is a waste of paper.
Faby Gagne March 10, 2014 at 08:46 PM
Peter, a large number of Amherst residents were not privy to any of this information. Why did youRead Moren ot mention this information at the May 2013 meeting? Keep in mind that the needs for a playground and fields may not have been on people's minds back then. It's difficult to predict future needs if said needs are currently satisfied. In addition, the approach taken in 2013 was a top down approach: a few and select individuals were asked to advise and make a decision for the majority. This time around, the approach is bottom up: using a grassroots initiative, EVERYONE will be able to have their say tomorrow. Why are you now opposed to a sale if you were open to it 13 years ago? Master plans can be modified, no?
Andy rowe March 10, 2014 at 09:11 PM
Again I ask that the trustees agree to sell the fields to the town and use the proceeds to develop Read MoreForestview. Destroying something of value makes no sense. Especially when the town and taxpayers will have to spend significantly more money to recreate these fields in the future. Common sense dictates that there should be a compromise. Nothing like this should be cast in stone. #savecemeteryfields #taxwise
Katie Button March 10, 2014 at 10:44 PM
The master plan is useless. It does not comply with current environmental laws and can never beRead Moreim plemented. Environmental laws trend as more restrictive over time, not less restrictive. The only way to honor the Merrills specific restriction on the property that it not be used for conservation is to subdivide and sell the existing fields to the Town. It's the only use that can be made of the low lands.
Jack Kunkel March 10, 2014 at 09:55 AM
Yes, the hundreds of hours spent by department heads, Selectmen, and Ways & Means was obviously Read Morewasted as no one was seriously trying. Are you kidding me!!! DPW has been down hundreds of thousands of dollars in actual needs over the last several years. We have no wash station so we can't take care of the vehicle fleet during the winter, so the trucks just rust away. Its very difficult to get voters to accept the capital investments needed to save thousands of dollars every year in unneeded expenses.
Citizens Advocate March 10, 2014 at 05:29 PM
Mr. Overholt, we must agree to disagree on the subject of anonymous writings. Tomorrow manyRead More“A mericans” across this great state will exercise a constitutional right to express their feelings and beliefs in the form of "voting day". I don’t recall ever in 31 years, signing my name on any election ballot, yet my message has been heard loud and clear. In many cases even acted upon. Politicians spend huge amounts of money asking us to step behind a closed curtain and pull the lever. You are exactly what our forefathers envisioned when they created the anonymous “secret ballot”.
Bill Overholt March 10, 2014 at 06:17 PM
Dear Anonymous: Your being confident enough to stand behind what you write has nothing to do withRead Morev oting. Too many people make unsubstantiated and inflammatory, and yes, even libelous statements that they would not do if they weren't hiding behind a pseudonym. If people had to stand behind what they say, the discourse and arguments might stay civil. Again - if it's woth saying, you should be proud to have your name attached.
Paul Martin March 10, 2014 at 06:50 AM
One innocent mistake was made. No if you disagree with Brad's plans for a commercial sports complex Read Morein a residential neighborhood, you're a bully.
Jack Kunkel March 10, 2014 at 09:59 AM
and some of biggest offenders are the unions. We can't reform education because the unions pourRead Morehug e amounts of money into the political arena. we're killing charter schools in some places because that was the union's price for backing candidates. etc. etc.
Jack Conaway March 10, 2014 at 11:11 AM
Sorry, but the huge influence of unions is urban legend. Unions do contribute to politicalRead Morecampaigns but their contributions are dwarfed by business interest contributions. In the congressional elections of 2010, business interests pumped $972M in soft money versus $10M for labor. In PAC donations, business PACs contributed $333M against $69M from labor according to the Center for Responsive Politics. And in the book by Hedrick Smith, "Who Stole the American Dream", the author , a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, reports that there are 60 times as many lobbyists for business interests in Washington than for labor.
Jack Conaway March 10, 2014 at 05:51 PM
By the way, if you believe that the unions are spending too much money to influence politics, youRead Moresh ould vote to overturn Citizens United because they will also be prevented from using PACs to inject big money into elections.
Distant Observer March 11, 2014 at 07:53 AM
Ms Button, It is very clear that you have done your research, and I applaud you for researchingRead Morethe issue. Research is commonly used when one needs to learn about a subject with which they have limited details and/or knowledge. But research can be flawed. I had the pleasure of knowing and discussing the cemetery field issue with the Merrill's, with the long time cemetery sexton (Mr. Crocker) at the time of the sale, and I also know that Mr. Crouter (Cemetery trustee at the time of the sale) felt betrayed by the whole process, he too felt misled and spoke out in favor of the cemetery. I also had the displeasure of watching Mr. Verrochi speak with a forked tongue on more than one occasion. Personal knowledge will trump research any day. Please indicate in any of my posts where I have provided inaccurate information. There is a grey area between what is the right thing to do and what is legal to do. If you want to see how well a town is run please take a look at their legal budget. Towns, and organizations, that operate in that grey area tend to have higher legal expenses as they are constantly being challenged in court. Mr. Kunkel is right, you may be able to lawyer your way out of the agreement, but is it right? The Merrill's grew up during a time when right was more of a measure then legally right, sadly we have allowed the attorneys to drag our society down to where we measure by legal right and not moral right. It does take a special kind of arrogance on the towns part to try to build up these fields in a residential neighborhood, yet fight so vehemently to stop Mr. Knights endeavor only a mile or so away. yeah I know most people will say his is a commercial venture, but don't think for a minute that renting out cemetery fields to outside organizations is not a commercial venture. Compromise seems to be a word that your group uses, unless of course it is not what the group wants. Seems to me there is a partnership possibility with Mr. Knight. I personally know Mr. Bergin and Mrs Grella and I have watched them put in countless of unpaid time for the benefit of the town in many ways, not just as cemetery trustees. To make them villains is just wrong. I work under the laws and guidelines that pertain to the cemeteries and the cemetery trust, I fully understand their fiduciary responsibility. It might enlighten some members to actually walk a mile in their shoes, before you make them out to be villains of Amherst. They understand the word "Trust" and I hope they prevail in the election today. If your group is successful I am sure the Attorney General will be involved to guide the process and insure the trust is protected. If your group is not successful I certainly hope your group will accept it and move on.
Faby Gagne March 11, 2014 at 08:01 AM
Because I am posting under my true identity, I feel the need to clarify that I never threatened Mr. Read MoreGrassett with a phone call to the zoning department. What you see as a lynching movement, I see as a referendum to give town residents a voice on this important issue. Regarding our parenting philosophies, I think we should just agree to disagree.
Katie Button March 11, 2014 at 09:43 AM
Mr. Grassetts commercial use is likely grandfathered,by the way. He's a non-conforming existing use Read Moreand in compliance. He is using the existing laws and ordinances as they are written to his favor. Just like the save cemetery fields movement. Again I'm sorry if the Merrill's were misled. But that was 20 years ago and the town has changed a lot during that time. I prefer to focus on the future rather than dwell on the past. Most importantly, let's encourage everyone to get out and vote!
Bill Overholt March 06, 2014 at 11:50 AM
I am disappointed in the direction taken over the last few years in the way some people areRead Moreapproach ing criticism of the town government anonymously and with such vitriol. Suffice it to say that writing under your own name forces some semblance of reasonableness and logic, and prevents the libelous statements like those we see in this blog and the comments on it. If people have something to say, they should be willing (and have the guts) to stand behind their writing with their real name (like Jonathan Prew did). Anonymous writings should be given a credibility rating of zero.
Sharon Frydlo March 06, 2014 at 06:41 PM
As the former Executive Assistant to the BoS and TA, one of my priorities was to transcribe the BoS Read Moreminutes within the RSA's timeframe and then get them posted on the Town's website. Now that someone has taken notice of this disparity, I found a few minutes ago that minutes have been posted, however, the minutes for 1/6/14 have been changed from 1/6/13 (but they still remain in that year as well as 2014), the minutes for 1/13/14 can't be opened, the minutes for the Public Hearing on 2/5/14 are not included and the minutes for 2/27/14 is just the agenda.
Honest taxpayer March 07, 2014 at 07:36 AM
Really? Surprised? Blame ourselves by continuing to vote for dolts like these. Like lemmings, weRead Morecon tinue to act without thinking. School budgets increase, our school ratings decrease. Look around. Amherst home prices are not recovering at the same rate as neighboring towns. Voters need to step up and think. Could be a challenge.
Andy rowe March 04, 2014 at 11:43 AM
The rezoning articles are a completely different issue and not one that is tied to Article 40 inRead Morean y way. Article 40 is about the rational use of town resources to the benefit of everyone in town. Plenty of people walk their dogs or otherwise enjoy the open space at Cemetery Fields. Even in the winter there are young families using the swings. With 47.85 acres of land there is room for a cemetery and fields. vote yes on 40 #savecemeteryfeilds
kd March 04, 2014 at 03:08 PM
Dear Voter, Very well written. I have lived in this town for over 30 years and have no intention of Read Morevoting for this article. We have far more important issues to deal with in our town.
Daniel March 05, 2014 at 08:55 AM
The shortsightedness of folks in this town is remarkable. This is an investment in our community.Read MoreIt has been well documented that this town will be short of playing fields required to support this town. Our children will be forced to go elsewhere for basic recreational needs. As a proud community member, that is absolutely embarrassing. There won't even be a playground to use for moms and dads that do not have school aged children. Who will be buying your homes? I for one do not want my value being reduced because nobody will move here with a family. That's what supports this town.
Martin Rowley February 26, 2014 at 03:01 PM
I welcome any approach to rationalize the budget process in Amherst. Measures that can enhanceRead Moreeffi ciency and reduce waste across all sectors of the town government and schools have my vote. Knowing Mike personally, and having had conversations with him about his ideas to improve the town, I can only conclude that his skills, background, and temperament make him a good fit for this position. I will vote for him for Selectman, as I believe he is sincere, hard working and genuinely interested in improving things.
Steven Sadowski March 03, 2014 at 07:59 AM
Mike: Best of luck. The Patch seems to be cross pollinating its forums quite a bit...I'm comingRead Moreto you all from the Nashua/MA border....but I too am in local politics and hope to run for BoS someday. I don't know Amherst very well, but from what little I do know of it, its reputation is that it is replete with statists who know more about Darfur than Danvers, so it may be an uphill slog to preach street to the ivory tower. Get those signs printed, line up your sign holders, and fill up on pancakes.
Patchogue Snoop March 15, 2014 at 01:37 PM
Bella Lugosi?
Andy rowe February 18, 2014 at 05:45 PM
No one has never said that the land wan't bought for cemetery purposes but that recreation was anRead Moreac cepted use. There is an extensive library of the related documents available at http://bit.ly/1eO4ddQ and you can see the videos from the Citizens Forum at http://bit.ly/1dJenRq The minor details of the debate no longer matter- vote yes on Article 40 on March 11th if you want to preserve the fields for Recreation. It is a suction that is allowed for by the AG Compromise is and always has been the solution.
Faby Gagne February 18, 2014 at 06:28 PM
I am very upset that Mr. Bergin continues to bend the truth to further his own agenda. The Cemetery Read MoreTrustees are overinvested. More than 60% of the work has already been done towards Forestview Cemetery. It is difficult for them to maintain objectivity when they have already spent so much time and money on a cemetery that is not needed. Mr. Bergin writes that “…some still think that both the Forestview Purchase and Sales Agreement and the Forestview Warranty Deed do not mention that the land was to be used for a Cemetery.” That is NOT true. Individuals who attended the January 8th meeting were told that the land was purchased for cemetery use. What Mr. Bergin fails to accept is that it was also agreed that the land could be used for other purposes, as stipulated in the Purchase and Sales Agreement, until there is a need for cemetery expansion. Here is something that Mr. Bergin fails to tell us. There is no imminent need for burial space in Amherst. The town does not need a 47-acre cemetery. Several times, I have tried to approach the Cemetery Trustees regarding this issue. None have been willing to talk to me. Marie Grella’s only words to me have been “No comments.” Mr. Bergin has coldly turned several town residents away. Please see Mr. Bergin’s response to my letter below. From: peter bergin <pfbergin@gmail.com> Subject: Re: Cemetery Fields Date: May 18, 2013 at 10:44:58 AM EDT To: Faby Gagne <faby_gagne@yahoo.com> Faby, I have read your letter. Peter The cemetery trustees are unwilling to talk. They were unwilling to participate in the January 8th forum. Marie Grella was unwilling to engage in debate at last week’s candidate debate. Rather, they publish half-truths and use scare-tactics. Vote yes on 40. It is the right thing to do.
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