What Amherst can afford: Town’s financial state to be topic of Thursday meeting

  • Amherst Town Hall. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

  • Amherst Town Manager Paul Bockelman will give an overview of town finances to town officials and residents Thursday.

Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 05, 2019

AMHERST — Amherst’s financial state heading into the development of the fiscal year 2021 budget will be the subject of a meeting Thursday.

The Financial Indicators Meeting, which replaces what in the past had been dubbed the “four boards” meeting, will begin at 6 p.m. at Town Room at Town Hall.

During the session, Town Manager Paul Bockelman said he and finance staff will inform the Town Council, trustees for the Jones Library and the Amherst and Regional school committees about what Amherst can afford, both in regular annual spending and longer-term capital projects.

This will be the first meeting projecting financial trends since the Town Council was sworn in last December following the adoption of the town charter in March 2018.

Immediately following the Financial Indicators Meeting, at 7 p.m., a public forum will be held on the town budget, which according to the charter is “intended for the Town Council and the town manager to present priorities, context based on prior years’ budgets, revenue and expenditure forecasts, and other relevant information, and to solicit feedback from the public.”

One of the objectives of the hearing is to learn more about what residents and town staff would like to see included in the operating budgets for town departments. One concern in recent days has come from the Amherst Firefighters Local 1764, which is worried about the department being understaffed in responding to both medical emergencies and other incidents.

The Town Council previously held a budget forum March 7, in advance of Bockelman unveiling his fiscal year 2020 budget proposal on May 1.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.