Amherst: "A Welcoming Community"
Is Amherst a Sanctuary City? Well, err, sort of, kinda, maybe ... Depends who you ask.
If you ask Town Manager Paul Bockelman, as the Finance Committee did recently, he would say "No"; but, it's "complicated."
But if you ask Select Board Chair Alisa Brewer she would seem to indicate that we are but would avoid an outright yes or no answer.
Either way a Town Meeting petition is now circulating to officially designate Amherst a "Sanctuary City" or town or community or whatever the case may be. Amherst also now shows up on internet articles as being a Sanctuary City,
Certainly the Town Meeting resolution passed in 2012 contains all the sentiments of a Sanctuary City but never actually strings together those two words.
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So if President Trump's executive order to cut off federal funding to Sanctuary cities and towns really gets enforced how much will it cost Amherst?
Town Manager Bockelman told the Finance Committee we currently get about $200,000 from Department of Justice Grants to APD for sexual violence and alcohol education programs.
Town Manager Paul Bockelman (left) at 1/26 Finance Committee meeting
But APD has a pretty astute grant writer and they have received a number of federal grants over the past few years.
And Amherst also gets upwards of $850,000 in Community Development Block Grants, which is federal money distributed by the state.
So I would not go poking the bear so to speak with an in your face Town Meeting warrant article directed at President Trump. This being Amherst we are already probably on his radar, if only for the recent embarrassing flag incident at Hampshire College.
Anti Trump pro Muslim Rally Amherst Town Common 1/19