Public Participation at Town Board Meeting on Monday June 22nd at 4:30 pm

 

Amherst Municipal Building
5583 Main Street Williamsville, NY 14221

The next regular Town Board meeting on Monday,  June 22nd at 4:30pm will be the first meeting since the March 9th meeting where the public will be allowed to participate, albeit virtually via Zoom video conferencing application or their phone.

Zoom Meeting Login: Visual/Display Online https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85162861202?pwd=aXEwRXd3dHFpU0JSd3ZqZHJXZTQxQT09

Audio/Call-In Instructions: Note to callers your phone number will display to the public, to conceal your number enter *67 before you enter the phone number. 1-929-205-6099,

** CORRECTED **
Meeting ID: 813 4110 3660
Password: 646998

The last SIX regular Town Board meetings were restricted to only the Town Clerk’s office, Town Attorney, certain town staff,  and the Town Councilmembers. Normally the public is allowed to express any of their opinions and concerns on any town related issue at a Town Board meeting.  But the Supervisor decided that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, public participation was just too risky, even using Zoom.

Special Note: The 4 pm public Work Session does not have its own Zoom meeting ID or password, so try to join the regular Town Board Zoom meeting at 4pm.  Public participation has never been allowed at a Town Board work session so this may not work.

Link: http://amherstny.iqm2.com/citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=14&ID=2673&Inline=True

 

Comments (1)

Democracy in the Town of Amherst

Amherst Municipal Building
5583 Main Street Williamsville, NY 14221

The 2nd of 4 Town Board meetings this June is on Monday, June15th at 4pm.

Link: http://amherstny.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_Meeting.aspx?ID=3772

This is a first of two Special meetings this month intended for ONLY public hearings. The Town Board could have held these public hearings during  either of the two regular Town Board meetings his month, but deliberately chose not to do so.

Including public hearings at a regular Town Board meeting would have allowed the public to comment on the other content of the regular meetings, but that is what our Town Board is apparently trying to prevent.

If you look ahead to the last two Town Board meetings on June 22nd, you can see how this restriction on public participation is very clearly reflected in the way these meetings are scheduled on the Town Meeting Portal website.

These meetings occur one after the other, a regular meeting first with NO public participation followed by a special meeting with public participation limited to a single resolution.

Town Meeting Portal website: http://amherstny.iqm2.com/citizens/

Is this the way our Town Board thinks democracy in Amherst should function?

 

Comments off

The Amherst Town Board is missing

Amherst Town Board Councilmembers

For the past 3 months, the Amherst Town board has been working from an undisclosed remote location.  Conducting public business in hiding.  While many of us still work from home, others are back at work and  we can  have lunch on a patio, get a hair cut, as the region begins to reopen.

But, the town board is nowhere to be found.  Their regular monthly meetings are closed to the public apparently contrary to State guidelines that require live stream public viewing if the town chooses to meet virtually.  But the town board aint doin that. What’s worse, the public has been specifically excluded from past meetings upon express ok from the Supervisor.  The Planning Board Chair, looking to finger the supervisor in this nefarious deed says this on the record at the Planning Board meeting, repeatedly. So what gives?

It’s not clear if the town board members go to town hall at all to work.  What is clear is that they conduct the public’s business from their patio or bunker via Zoom and post an edited video a day or so later. Just what are they hiding from?  One member, is actually running a political campaign and is in the  primary for State Senate.  But she’s too busy to  do her current job?

Maybe the board should petition the ZBA for a permit allowing chickens in town hall.  They may not all be hens, but they sure are chickens.

The Amherst Town Board is missing.

Comments (2)

Playing Hide ‘n Seek with the Town Board meeting agenda

Resolution 2020-507 Temporary Access Agreement – Nussbaumer & Clarke (CRS#
2076)

The Monday, June 8th Town Board meeting contains several important and substantive resolutions which before COVID-19 would certainly attract public comment during public expression. But now our Town Board will not allow the public to view or participate at the live streamed Zoom video of the meeting for reasons that are vague and questionable.

In the larger agenda packet, Resolution 2020-507 – Temporary Access Agreement – Nussbaumer & Clarke (CRS#2076) states only that it is for “access to the lands outlined in the boundary survey of the land site, attached as Exhibit “A”“. The shorter meeting  agenda doesn’t have even that level of detail.

When reading a Town Board agenda these days it has become increasingly necessary to dig deeper into seemingly ordinary resolutions to find out what they really mean.  After you do sometimes they are not so ordinary. The image below is the “lands outlined” of this resolution.

Exhibit “A”

Link: http://amherstny.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_LegiFile.aspx?Frame=&MeetingID=3774&MediaPosition=&ID=21998&CssClass=

Has the Town Board forgotten what the words “public trust” mean?

Comments off

Comment from Concerned Citizen

Amherst Council Chambers

The council chambers at Town Hall has a capacity of 300. So 25% of capacity is 75 people. It is obvious that the town board could easily hold their public meetings in that room while maintaining proper distance Live streaming the meetings and allowing for public engagement in some manner needs to be reconstituted in the short term Arrangements should be made to inform and accommodate the public.

Comments (1)

Town of Amherst COVID-19 Recovery Task Force

Novel Task Force

The Monday June 8th Town Board meeting contains Resolution 2020-501 initiated by Supervisor Kulpa for the Creation of Town of Amherst COVID-19 Recovery Task Force.

Link: http://amherstny.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_LegiFile.aspx?Frame=&MeetingID=3774&MediaPosition=&ID=22013&CssClass=

A proactive planning approach to help mitigate the negative economic impacts of COVID-19 is great idea, but a completely open process is a minimum requirement.

The Town of Amherst Emergency Operations Center, Planning Division (a new group created by and reporting to the Supervisor) has  proposed  the creation of the Town of Amherst COVID-19 Recovery Task Force, a subcommittee of the Town Board.

That’s a quite a bunch of bureaucratic sounding Divisions and Task Forces.  It’s clear this is a new economic power group which at present appears to have little public accountability or transparency.  Sure hope the members of the Task Force at least fill out their financial disclosure forms as required by the Town of Amherst Code.

Town of Amherst COVID-19 Recovery Task Force

·            •  Besch, Jeremy (The Park School of Buffalo)
·            •  Baynes, AJ (Amherst Chamber of Commerce)
·            •  Bray, Brian (Town of Amherst Senior Services)
·            •  Ciminelli, Paul (Ciminelli Development)
·            •  Conroy, Christopher (Amherst Resident)
·            •  Knight, Dr. Jason (Buffalo State)
·            •  McMahon, Joe (Town of Amherst)
·            •  Mingoia, Dave (Amherst IDA)
·            •  Nair, Sibu (CHAI)
·            •  Rich, Sara (Hillel Buffalo)
·            •  Stiver, Carrie (Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village)
·            •  Whalen, Dave (Niagara University)
·            •  Winship, Maggie (Town of Amherst Economic Development)

Finally, there will be NO public participation at this Town Board meeting making the TOTAL lack of any public input complete.

Comments (5)

Amherst: Reopening/Response/Recovery

Town Board Work Session Agenda June 8, 2020

The Town Board Work Session originally scheduled for June 8, 2020 at 3 pm was CANCELLED because of health impact of COVID-19.

Another Town Board Work Session has been rescheduled for same day at 4 pm to address the economic effects of COVID-19.


The agenda states as all previous Town  Board agendas have claimed something that is blatantly untrue

This meeting is being recorded
and will stream live online Amherstny.iqm2.com

All previous Town Board agendas in the COVID-19 era have claimed that Public Expression is occurring which is also blatantly untrue.

If the Town Board and Town Clerk are going to publish untrue content in their agendas they should be held accountable for it. There is no excuse for being  sloppy and inept, they must proof read the entire agenda and make them accurate!

Finally since this meeting is closed to the public, we will learn the content of the Supervisor’s Reopening/Response/Recovery plan after the fact and without any ability to question or comment.  Apparently public input isn’t all that important.


 

Comments (2)

FOUR Town Board Meetings in June

Amherst Municipal Building
5583 Main Street Williamsville, NY 14221

There are FOUR Town Board meetings scheduled for this June where TWO are additional SPECIAL meetings for work that apparently need to be handled right away. A very BUSY month for the Town Board councilmembers indeed!

We anticipate that there will be NO public participation at the TWO REGULAR Town Board meeting listed below (i.e., IF no public hearings).

1. Monday, June 8, 2020 at 4 pm (4:30 pm) — Work Session at 4 pm   (Updated June 3)
2. Monday, June 22, 2020  at 4 pm

The other TWO SPECIAL Town Board meetings appear to involve a “virtual public hearing” of some kind.

3. Monday, June 15, 2020 at 4 pm

” … substantial amendments to the 2018 and 2020 Annual Plans regarding the use of the CDBG-CV funds and previously determined programming, and to revise the Citizen Participation Plan allowing for virtual public hearings.”

4. Monday, June 22, 2020  at 6:30 pm

 ” … public hearings regarding the pending request to amend the zoning classification of 14.97 acres of 500 Maple Road (“Project Site”) from RC to CF and to amend the Comprehensive Plan to accommodate the proposed UBMD project.”

These Town Board meetings are listed on the Town website.

http://amherstny.iqm2.com/citizens/

Comments (5)

To Postpone or Not To Postpone: An CRITICAL Assessment

Amherst Municipal Building / Amherst Town Hall

Town of Amherst 2020 Property Assessments Process Begins

Our new world of the Corona virus infection/COVID-19 disease has caused the Supervisor to order the cancellation and postponement of many significant functions of town government as part of his “A State of Emergency” powers.

http://www.amherst.ny.us/content/cancellations.php

Given that most of us are more concerned for the our own health and safety these days than the activities of the Town of Amherst or the Supervisor, this appears to be a prudent precaution. But in some cases the town continues to operate what it considers critical operations, albeit many times using Zoom video technology.

One of these critical operations the town has already started is our 2020 Property Assessments. It started today at 8 am (May 26th) with a Zoom meeting of the Board of Assessment Review.  Frankly, probably most of us had no idea that it already had begun.

Information about our 2020 Assessments can be found on the town website.

http://www.amherst.ny.us/content/departments.php?dept_id=dept_02&div_id=div_02&menu_id=menu_02

 

Comments off

Town Board Meeting Tuesday, May 26th

Amherst Municipal Building
5583 Main Street Williamsville, NY 14221

There is another Town Board meeting on Tuesday, May 26th at 4 pm. Presumably it will again be held using Zoom video conferencing, and recorded for posting on the town website sometime later this week.

Agenda: http://amherstny.iqm2.com/citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=14&ID=2663&Inline=True

Apparently this is the new normal for Town Board meetings. No more attendance or participation at meetings, everything we need to know is in the final video.

Comments (1)