The shortest month

February already.  How time does fly!  So where are we?

Goals for the Town Manager:  Done!  It has been a drawn-out process, from the FY08 evaluation and its first-ever solicitation of input from Town staff, to the first (in recent times, anyway) document setting out specific performance goals and expectations.  Which will make the next evaluation so much more relevant and useful.  We aren't finished yet.  The evaluation "instrument" still needs to be improved, and we need to turn these various pieces into a process with an efficient timeline, etc.  But we have made SO MUCH progress.  I'm very happy about this.

Budget stuff in general:  More progress.  Still a long way to go, but I think we are working very hard to be informed and relevant, and to establish a productive and appropriate role in the process.  We created and submitted actual budget recommendations.  We are concentrating on the budget details and its implications at every regular meeting and in special budget-only meetings.  The more we talk and learn about this, the more the public will talk and learn about this, and that benefits everyone.  Feeling good about this.

Budget stuff specifically:  Could be worse.  And it will be.  We really dodged a bullet on the FY09 mid-year aid cuts by the State.  FY10 won't be a picnic, but if we had to slash nearly a million dollars of people and services to meet the FY09 cut, FY10 would be considerably more grim.  (In this comment, I offer some explanation of the diligence and good fortune that are enabling us to cover that gap this year.)  We'll be getting recommendations from John and Larry on FY10 options, and the Budget Coordinating Group (two reps each from the SB, School Committee, Finance Committee, Library Trustees, plus chief administrative and financial officials for each) is a great, smart committee working hard to request/provide the best information for looking at the implications of the budget deficit Amherst-wide.  Ultimately, we will weigh the options and bring recommendations to our "home" boards.  I am optimistic about the process, even while I'm worried about the outcome.

Communication with the Town Manager:  Going very well.  I think the Town Manager Reports at the SB meetings are vastly more detailed and substantive.  Larry has been extremely responsive to all of my requests to provide more info and share more detail.  I think we are working well together, and I think the Select Board is getting a lot of work done.

Other news:  Pretty darn good.  The Fourth of July parade permit was issued.  The Survival Center raised more than $17,000 with the Empty Bowls event.  I've just received notice that the SB e-mail address has won 891,934 pounds sterling in a UK lottery (Who knew we entered?) - couldn't happen at a better time.  Winterfest is this weekend (nope - I'm not doing the box race this year.)  The folks who own Fresh Side expect to open Mango Mango in the former Fresh Side space this month.  (Happiness is Fresh Side's Thai tea roll and Kitsune noodle soup.)  I have my first meeting as a member of the Joint Capital Planning Committee on Thursday.  And one of these days, it just might stop snowing.     


Mary Carey said:

Inimitable job presenting serious news with some light-hearted stuff. Thank you, UK lottery.



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