Category “IDA”

Residents Should Learn About Westwood/Audubon Deal

Commentary from a Concerned Citizen

As a concerned town resident regarding developments relating to the town’s potential acquisition of Westwood Country Club, in exchange for town property located at the Audubon golf course and the North Town Center recreational facility I am writing to urge Amherst residents to make an effort to understand all aspects of this project and make your views and concerns known to your elected officials long before this project has been negotiated and demand answers before this project is formally brought before town residents for the required hearing prior to a formal approval by this town board. If you wait until then to voice your concerns at that point this will be a done deal. A hearing of this type 99% of the time is just a necessary ordeal to be endured by the politicians’ before approval is granted, especially when all town board members are from the same political party. It will be imperative for all town residents to have an understanding not only of all the wonderful things this town board plans on being included in this project, but a firm estimate of the costs to be incurred for each project and where the revenue is going to come from initially and on an ongoing basis.

Town residents should keep in mind that this project as currently envisioned will be trans-formative in scope and forever change the landscape of our town. If we get this wrong we will be paying for years to come and long after our current elected officials will have left or have been voted out of office.

In a perfect world who would not want another beautiful park located in the geographical center of Amherst. However, before this park becomes a reality I ask everyone, especially our elected officials, to keep in mind when we are bartering away our town assets two things: 1) The town board did not go to the Mensch Capital group looking for a deal. Mensch Capital, looking for a way out of what was a bad deal that they made, came to the town for relief. 2) What the town currently has by way of green space and recreational activities has served the town well. In short we are not in desperate need to make this deal unless it benefits the town every bit as much as the developers. Also, the recent involvement of, “Bones and Guts who hope to benefit not only themselves but wealthy medical professionals who can well afford to anti-up and still come out well ahead should not be allowed to clean up on the backs of the town residents. As it is, all developers and recipients of their activities will clean up on the back end when our Amherst I.D.A. does its stuff. Then there is the numerous state credits, etc. Bottom line, when all the cards are shuffled and dealt the town better end up on the plus side economically after offsetting the cost to bring this project into fruition and let us not forget what all this will cost the town over time in increased additional employees, payroll taxes, pensions, maintenance, etc. on an on-going basis.

Final thought Mister and Mrs. Amherst: Do not blow this project off and ignore the details as this is one project once approved that we will not be able to undue.

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