my vision for amherst
What do you think of when you think of Amherst? Do you think of the downtown, the place you work, the neighborhood you live in, or the trail where you walk your dog? It’s a college town, a first job, a place to start a family, a place to retire: a hometown. A lifetime of memories in seventeen thousand plus acres. Amherst is a co-mingling of farmers, artists and engineers. We are educators, service workers, healthcare professionals—the list goes on. The texture of Amherst is who we are and how we live. It’s a reflection of how we think of ourselves, how we interact with each other and, in the broader scope, what we want to say to the world.
Is it changing? Yes. But the changes aren’t just buildings and demographics. We change every day. How we consume, educate and entertain ourselves reflects these changes. And you can see this not just in Amherst but in other towns across the state and the country. Alongside these shifts are rising costs in education, healthcare, and the quality services we have come to expect from our town. We also have forward thinking ideas about sustainability, net zero buildings and affordable housing. We have people that work in Amherst, but can’t afford to live here. Closing the gap between the values we project and the costs of those ideals--while keeping Amherst, Amherst--is the main work ahead for our town and its governance.
High quality schools, libraries, & town services
My priorities, if elected as a Town Councilor, are to maintain the high-quality schools, the libraries and the municipal services the Town of Amherst provides in conjunction with strategies for slowing the increase of the residential tax rate. On the maintenance/expense side, we face major capital planning projects: the relocation of the downtown Fire station, a new Public Works building, the Jones Library renovation and, on top of those, our two failing elementary school structures. Currently, Amherst is well positioned to finance these projects with a AA+ long-term bond rating which lowers our borrowing costs. But we have other pressures as well: our Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) obligation, rising healthcare costs and a backlog of road repairs.
Slow the increase of property taxes
On the income side, slowing the residential tax rate—taking part of the tax burden off the shoulders of home owners—means generating that revenue elsewhere. New growth adds needed revenue to our operating budget and, if the Master Plan is followed, density to our village centers and downtown. We need to grow in tune with the growth around us but manage this growth wisely to preserve our “small town feel.” With thoughtful planning, I believe this can be achieved.
a safer north amherst for all
In addition to the above priorities, as a District One Town Councilor, my Precinct 1 and 3 focus points are: the intersections of East Pleasant with Pine Street and of Pine, Meadow and North Pleasant. This includes safe, accessible corridors from the ajoining neighborhoods to the Cushman and North Amherst village centers respectively. In North Amherst I will advocate for the renovation of the North Amherst Library and a safer speed transition from Leverett to Amherst. I firmly believe the more we can feel safe walking, navigating, commuting and exercising in our precincts the stronger and more viable these centers become. And as a result, the more we attain a sense of shared community.
responsive local government
When I think of Amherst, I envision a vibrant downtown, walkable village centers and playful surprises. A place where people create their lives and encourage that creation in others. The Town Council is poised to lay the groundwork for a responsive and accountable government. This necessitates input from all of us. I believe in working toward shared solutions. This takes time and a willingness to look at and understand all sides of an issue. It also requires an ability to see multiple moving parts, to think beyond the microcosm to the broader context of where we are now, where we want to be and how can we get there. If elected, I look forward to serving this community and working toward this vision
- Create a culture of inclusion and transparency in our government.
- Slow the increase of property taxes.
- Maintain high-quality schools, libraries, and municipal services.
- Address urgent capital projects: Schools; Fire Station; DPW; Library.
- Make North Amherst safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
- Renovate the North Amherst Library
- Improve the condition of town roads.
about Sharon Povinelli
In significant ways, I have grown up in Amherst. Though not born and raised here, I first came to Amherst while taking a semester off from my SUNY college in western NY when I was 19. In between studying classical guitar full-time, I washed dishes at the Classé Café, canvassed (shyly and without great success) for MASS-PIRG, and scooped ice cream at Bart's. I was even in a garage band - there are underground, rare recordings available.
After college I moved here permanently and began working full time at a small stationary store downtown, A.J. Hastings. Already an avid cyclist, I had fallen in love with the scenic views and challenging trails of the Pioneer Valley. What I was not prepared for was falling in love with the people and texture of Amherst. The downtown was an integral part of people's lives, more than just the sum of the goods and services they needed, it was the social venue and community heart. I learned what it meant to work hard and not worry about the weather too much. In other words, embrace the challenge and make it your own.
During these next thirty years, Amherst has become my home. I still bike regularly and I'm a US Master Swimmer. I'm also a parent of two adult children raised in the Amherst community, a business owner, and an active community leader. Through my experience as a 3-term Town Meeting member and Finance Committee member, I have worked to understand the complex nature of municipal government. I understand the challenges that face not just our community, but communities across the commonwealth and country. As well as practical experience, I also bring three decades worth of interacting with our residents, students, and visitors. Through these experiences I feel qualified to represent District 1 on our new Town Council and help guide us through this transitional process and set a course for the future.
As I said, I was not born here, but feel now like a native of Amherst: a product of our culture and people. I feel grateful to have been welcomed into this community and fortunate to be able to share my skills and knowledge toward keeping this community a vibrant, sustainable, and affordable place to live. Amherst is my home and I am looking forward to life here in the next thirty years.
B.A., SUNY Fredonia, English and Creative Writing
M.A., Antioch New England, Organizational Management
A.J. Hastings - Co-Owner
MASS-PIRG - Canvasser
Bart's Ice Cream - Scooper
Classé Café - Dishwasher
Amherst Town Meeting
Amherst Finance Committee (2017-present)
Amherst BID Steering Committee (2009-2011)
Amherst BID Treasurer (2011-present)
Downtown Parking Working Group (2017-present)
woodworking, welding, music
cycling, US Master Swimming, snowboarding, hiking
We need to work together to ensure North Amherst and our entire town remains a wonderful place to live. Working side-by-side to with your neighbors for a greater purpose is fun and satisfying. Join us!
There are many ways you can help our campaign for North Amherst. I would love for your to join me in any way you can contribute. Fill in the form to the right, and you'll hear from me ASAP about jumping into the team!
Here are easy and quick ways to help with my campaign:
- Fill out the form to the right to let me know about your support.
- Email me with questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Email your friends and neighbors a link to this website and let them know you are supporting me. Don't wait, send an email now!
- "Like" my campaign facebook page.
- "Invite" your facebook friends to like my page.
- Write a letter to the Amherst Bulletin/Daily Hampshire Gazette and let them know why you are supporting me. (You can email your letter to: email@example.com)
- Host a coffee with your neighbors so they can meet me and ask questions—it's a great excuse for a neighborhood get-together!
- Make phone calls to voters with me.
- Take a nice walk with me and knock on doors in North Amherst.
- Donate to my campaign to help cover printing and website costs.
Click the "Donate" button below to help defray Sharon's campaign costs - signs, brochures, etc. Thanks!