Hello, everyone. We have just launched a new page, On our radar, where we will post items of interest as we find them. So check it every now and then.
We are taking a break but will return next week. Enjoy the beautiful weekend and remember to set your clocks back an hour on Sunday morning/Saturday night.
Just added a new fact check! Head over to the page.
Alert for print subscribers of the Daily Hampshire Gazette: after Oct. 7, the Amherst Bulletin will no longer be delivered to your home with the Gazette. If you wish to continue receiving the Amherst Bulletin, call 413-584-5000 and tell the Circulation Department you want the Bulletin mailed to you. We don’t believe there will be a charge for this.
In addition, the Bulletin will still be delivered in bulk to several locations around town: Sawicki Real Estate (24 Dickinson St.), the Jones Library, Jones Group Realtor (200 Triangle St.), Visitors Information Center (35 S. Pleasant St.), A.J. Hastings, and the Inn on Boltwood. In Hadley, the paper will be available at the Hampshire Mall, Stop & Shop, and Liquors 44, and several hotels and motels.
We expect that the Bulletin will be carrying election-related letters, columns, and other information, so encourage readers not to miss October issues.
We plan to begin election-related fact checking! Please email us if you read or hear, first-hand, incorrect or suspect public statements from candidates or groups. You must be able to document who, what, when, and where, and provide your name, and if you can document the correct information, please send it also. Be sure to distinguish statements of fact and statements of opinion, and allow for some campaign hyperbole. No anonymous tips! (But we won’t post your name.) And no guarantee that we can or will choose to respond. If we learn of errors worthy of correction, we will begin a Fact-check page.
This is new for us so we will see how it goes.
By Sarah Marshall
The 2020 census shows not only changes in the town’s total population and make-up, but uneven changes in populations across local voting precincts. The changes are large enough to require the Town to “re-precinct” for elections beginning in 2022. A Districting Advisory Board (DAB) began work earlier this summer and must submit its recommended precinct map in mid-October; Town Council must approve the new precincts and submit them to the State by the end of October. (The urgency of the work explains this weekend announcement.)
The DAB invites the public to comment on two maps it has drafted. The draft maps, available census data, interactive mapping tools, and related materials can be accessed from the DAB committee webpage, https://www.amherstma.gov/3624/Districting-Advisory-Board.
The first draft map is available at https://bit.ly/DABMapV1 and the second draft map at https://bit.ly/DABMapV2. The link to the current precinct and district map is available here: https://bit.ly/2010AMAPrecinctMap for comparison (note that polling locations have since changed for precincts 2, 4, and 10).
To provide feedback on the draft maps, email email@example.com (with the subject line: DAB). The weekly DAB meetings include public comment periods and residents are welcome to offer feedback at that time. The next DAB meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 21, at 5:30 p.m.
The nomination papers are in, but certification is not complete. In addition, some candidates will need to decide by Sept. 30 which of two races to run in, as no one is allowed to run for two elected positions on the same ballot. So, keep checking our Election Update page, where we will also post the updated list of poll locations. In addition, once the ballot is set, we will either post or reproduce a draft, including the ballot language for the Jones Library question. Finally: candidates, remember to submit information for inclusion on the Candidate Events and Information page.
We will launch a new page, Candidate Information and Events, next week. Since the nomination period has not yet closed and campaigns are just getting started, content will be light at first but will grow over time. Candidates and groups are invited to submit information to us (firstname.lastname@example.org) that meets requirements detailed on the page. For example, we will list events that are open to all candidates (for Town Council, at least all candidates for a district), candidate web pages and social media links, and links to any surveys sent to all candidates.
Last night, Town Council voted to put the Jones Library project on the Nov. 2 ballot. The ballot question will be, in essence, do you affirm Town Council’s vote of Apr. 5 to proceed with the expansion and renovation of the Jones Library? The exact language, including the approved summary, appears below. And remember that you can learn about the project at the Jones Library page under Town Government 101 in our menu.
The following referendum question will appear on the November 2, 2021 Ballot.
QUESTION: Shall the following measure authorizing a borrowing for the expansion and renovation of the Jones Library, as voted by the Town Council on April 5, 2021, be affirmed?
BE IT ORDERED by the Town Council of the Town of Amherst that: The Town appropriate $35,279,700 for the expansion and renovation of the Jones Library, and to meet this appropriation, authorize the Treasurer, with the approval of the Town Manager, to borrow said amount, under and pursuant to M.G.L. Chapter 44, Section 7, 8, or pursuant to any other enabling authority, and to issue bonds or notes of the Town therefore, which borrowing shall be reduced to the extent of any grants received from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, funds received from The Jones Library, Incorporated in an amount no less than $5,656,576 which, in addition to the $1,000,000 previously appropriated under the Community Preservation Act, represents the Library’s share of the total project cost, and/or any other source to pay costs of this project; and, further, any premium received by the Town upon the sale of any bonds or notes approved by this vote, less any such premium applied to costs of issuance of such bonds or notes, may be applied to project costs approved by this vote with a reduction of borrowing authority therefore by a like amount in accordance with M.G.L. Chapter 44, Section 20.
SUMMARY: On April 5, 2021, the Town Council voted with 10 in favor, 2 opposed, and 1 abstention, to authorize a borrowing for the expansion and renovation of the Jones Library. The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners has awarded the Town a grant of approximately $13.8 million for this project with payments starting this year; approximately $5.7 million will be provided through private donations as set forth in an agreement with the Jones Library Board of Trustees; and $1.0 million was appropriated from the Community Preservation Act funds. With these funds secured, the Town’s share of the total project costs will be approximately $15.8 million. A “yes” vote on this question means that you affirm the Council’s vote to fund the Library expansion and renovation project and want the project to continue. A “no” vote means that you reject the Council’s vote to fund the Library expansion and renovation project and do not want the project to continue.
Check out our new pages under the heading, Town Government 101. We aim to collect sources of information on a variety of local efforts, and begin with general resources (if you are new to Amherst, have a look) and resources to help you get and stay up to speed on the four major capital projects, such as video, documents, and other websites. Please let us know if you come across broken links.
We’ve made a few changes to the site. You can find short bios of writers on the Contributors page, as well as information about the upcoming Town elections on the Elections Update page. Both will be updated from time to time.