Letter: Borrowing More Money for the Jones? Ask the Voters.


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The following letter was sent to the Town Council on December 4, 2023.

I am asking that you do NOT vote tonight at 6:30 p.m. on whether to borrow an additional $9.8 million for the Jones renovation….but instead ask for a special town vote to make the decision. 

In 2021 voters approved $15.8 million in borrowing for the Jones repair.. I’ve learned you don’t need taxpayer approval to borrow an additional $9.8 million for the same project. 

How can any councilor think it’s okay  to borrow so much more money without taxpayer approval?  

Will  exorbitant borrowing and financial liberties… without voter approval…. happen like this for other imminent capital projects..like the school, fire station and DPW facility?

Thank you for your consideration of this request. 

Kathleen Carroll

Kathleen Caroll is a resident of Amherst.

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4 thoughts on “Letter: Borrowing More Money for the Jones? Ask the Voters.

  1. This is a really short comment but, …………that letter seems to suggest a fair solution.

  2. Agreed.
    Reasonable, common sense, and will eliminate any concern about “bait and switch”, “smoke and mirrors”, the “fix is in”, “elitism” or what the everyday taxpayer/people truly need.

  3. Please, please listen to us and do not go forward on this Jones Library fiasco. Asking taxpayers, like us, to spend more money on this inflated, unnecessary, and truly unaffordable project is not a wise fiscal move. For us, it truly feels very much like “taxation without representation.”

    Please consider the feelings of many town taxpayers, who are questioning your actions. Bring this decision to continue with this costly (not town owned building) spending, back to a vote by the taxpayers of our town. This really affects us and is far too much spending to be appropriated, simply by a vote of the Town Council.

    We all know there is no shortage of libraries in our town and nearby. Every Amherst School has a very functional library. Town residents may use the North Amherst Library (recently doubled in size), the South Amherst Library, and all the local college libraries. In addition, surrounding towns allow access to their libraries. So, why are we spending millions and millions on a huge renovation of the Jones Library? It just does not make good fiscal sense.

    In times like this, when inflation is soaring, there is no logical reason to go forward with such a huge increase in taxpayer spending, especially for a building not even owned by the town!!!! We all know that the proposed costs are going to keep expanding. This is not the final cost of this project.

    Please reconsider any further funding until it is brought to another vote by town voters. This is far too much money to spend without a vote by the taxpayers.

  4. Libraries are many things: community centers, repositories of knowledge, emblems of a community’s valuing education. When the Amherst library renovation was in its early planning stages, cost estimates were done, state money was pledged to offset the cost, and many Amherstians acceded to the project as a way to proclaim their pride in our community’s intellectual vitality, and perhaps to counterbalance the turmoil and declining reputation of Amherst’s schools. The push to renovate gained inertia that has carried the project forward despite the gigantic cost over-runs that threatens to saddle residents with massive tax increases as the town also forges ahead with plans for several major, expensive projects, including a new elementary school, a new DPW building, a new fire station, and a new track for the high school.

    Is it fiscally responsible to push ahead with all these projects?

    Some of the same folks who most vocally support the library project are the same people who are loudly proclaiming the town needs more affordable housing, even as their pet projects burden workforce families with tax increases that are incentivising them to leave town.

    A mix of questionable planning that has put the town in a position to need all these things at once, and the scrambling of finances and supply chains due to Covid has put us in a bind. Amherst voters need to engage in sober re-examination of what we can truly afford, and then have another chance to express themselves at the ballot box.

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