Bidwell Advisors
September 5, 2019
To neighbors and friends, Ward 2 and elsewhere,

I hope the summer months have treated you all well, and that transitions to the school year and other fall activities are going smoothly.

There's lots I want to update you on:
As always, please be in touch with your questions, comments and concerns.


Dennis Bidwell
Use of the City's marijuana revenuesuse
It seems there is considerable confusion, and misinformation, about the marijuana revenues coming to the City and the use of those funds. These matters have been extensively discussed in City Council meetings, but reporting by the press has not been thorough.

So here's a primer.

The City receives two forms of marijuana revenue - the sales tax collected on the City's behalf by the state and remitted back to the City by the state quarterly, after a delay, and a community impact fee that is collected directly by the City.

In addition to the 17.0% tax collected by the state on all licensed recreational marijuana sales (a combination of sales and excise taxes), the City has opted to collect the 3.0% sales tax allowed by law. The City tax revenues that have come back to the City from the state, as of June 30, total $980,414. The quarterly payments will likely decline as more stores open up in surrounding communities, and as the industry builds out generally. In the City budget for FY 2020 presented by the Mayor to the City Council, and approved by the Council after public hearings and a series of budget presentations by the mayor around the City, marijuana revenue for the fiscal year is projected at $1.2 million. That is intentionally a conservative number, as it is a very hard number to predict, and we'd rather have a surprise on the up side than on the down side. Also, that estimate is consistent with guidance from the MA Department of Revenue regarding marijuana revenue estimates. Those revenues flow into the General Fund, along with property and excise taxes, permitting fees, state aid, etc. The roughly $100,000,000 general fund is budgeted to the whole range of city services, with well over half of the budget going to our two school systems, Northampton Public Schools and Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School. The marijuana revenues are not earmarked for a particular purpose, but go into the kitty along with everything else subject to a budgeting and appropriations process.

The other marijuana revenues, the community impact funds, are collected directly by the City as part of the Host Community Agreements required of all licensed facilities. To date $808,234 has been paid. These funds go into the City's Marijuana Community Impact Fee Stabilization Fund, in accordance with state law. Those funds, subject to appropriation by the City Council, are to be used to mitigate the impacts of marijuana operations in the City - roads, law enforcement, inspection services, public health, etc. These funds don't go into the general City budget because they are set to expire after five years, and the City generally does not include non-recurring revenues in its general operating budget.
Work on the new I-91 Exit 19 roundaboutwork
You've likely seen the activity at Exit 19 of I-91 - where Bridge Street leads to the Coolidge Bridge. This is the initial work as part of the project that will bring us a completed roundabout sometime in 2021. The work underway now includes construction signage installation, site survey, work on the northbound I-91 off ramp and utility relocations. This is a project of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. If you'd like to see a set of drawings depicting what the traffic flow will eventually look like, here is a link on the City's DPW website. Interstate 91, Exit 19 and Route 9 roadway improvements.
Municipal Elections, and City Council Candidate Forums on Climate and the Environmentmuniciple
Elections for At-Large and Ward City Council positions will be held November 5. The only race that requires a preliminary election is for Ward 7 City Council, where three candidates will be on the September 17 preliminary election ballot.
Please note that the deadline for registering to vote is October 19.
Here, on the City Clerk's website, is a listing of all candidates running for municipal offices.

A large coalition of organizations, including Climate Action Now Western Mass, Massachusetts Sierra Club, League of Women Voters, and about 15 others, is hosting two forums - September 11 and September 12 - to give constituents a chance to hear from City Council candidates on crucial climate and environmental issues. The forums are focused on seats with more than one candidate running, and those with single candidates running unopposed but who have not been on the Council (like Karen Foster here in Ward 2) and are therefore note well known to voters.

September 11 at the Northampton Senior Center (67 Conz St.):
- 6:30-7:20 pm Ward 1 candidates (Andrew Smith, Michael Quinlan Jr.)
- 7:30-8:20 pm Ward 2 and Ward 4 candidates (Karen Foster and John Thorpe)

September 12 at Lathrop Community Room (1 Shallowbrook Lane):
- 6:30-7:20 pm Ward 5 candidates (Alexander Jarrett and David Murphy)
- 7:30-8:30 pm Ward 7 candidates (Hanuman Goleman, Penny Geiss and Rachel Maiore)
Frances Crowe - Celebratory Events Sunday September 8frances
The international peace movement, the nation, Northampton and Ward 2 (Langworthy Road) lost a remarkable woman when Frances Crowe passed away last week, at the age of 100. Much has been written in recent days about her steadfast vision, her energy, her inspirational ways. I especially recommend her obituary in the New York Times.

One of my fondest personal Frances memories is when four years ago, at a gathering at my home where I formally announced that I would be running for the Ward 2 City Council seat, Frances asked the first question: "Dennis, what will you do as City Councilor to convert abandoned St. Mary's church to an arts center in the sanctuary, with a basement hostel for peace activists traveling from one demonstration to another?" I'll never forget that - the specificity of her vision, the expectation that her elected representative would deliver.

There will be a Celebratory Memorial Service for Frances ("Do Something! Speak Out - A Celebration of Frances Crowe") this Sunday, September 8, at 2:00 pm at John M. Greene Hall at Smith College. In advance of that, there will be a rally and speak-out, starting at noon, at Pulaski Park, followed by a march to John M. Greene Hall.
October 5 - Living Books at the Forbes Library october
On Saturday, October 5, from 10am-2pm, Forbes Library and Northampton Connects will host Living Books. This event provides an opportunity to meet one-on-one in a safe setting to talk with people who have experiences we may never have personally encountered and where our questions and curiosity about others is encouraged. The format of the conversation is designed for members of our community to share experiences that have shaped their lives and identities and to support an exchange among participants that will build an understanding of a wide range of perspectives. Similar programs have successfully been held around the world under a variety of names such as the Human Library and Living Books.

Forbes Library is honored to offer space to reflect and safely share these experiences with a curious and respectful community.

If you have an experience that you would like to share with others, click here to be a Living Book.

- Did something happen that changed your life? Is there someone who made all the difference for you? What do you wish everyone knew about you?

- Whether it's a story of fear and courage, or one of joy and sorrow, we each have a story to tell, and this is the chance to tell it.
October 6 - A Day to Commemorate the 1979 Greensboro Massacre and To Reflect on White Supremacyoctober6
I was honored to be the lead sponsor of a City Council resolution commemorating the 1979 Greensboro Massacre and establishing October 6 as a day to reflect in Northampton on the parallels between the white supremacy and hate that led to the deaths of five anti-Ku Klux Klan demonstrators in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1979 and the white supremacy and hate that led to 22 deaths in El Paso, Texas on August 3 of this year. The resolution was prompted by Dr. Marty Nathan, who lost her pediatrician husband in the Greensboro massacre, and by Jackie Balance, who lost her dear friend that same day.

On Sunday October 6, from 2 to 4 pm, at Edwards Church, there will be a forum, Greensboro Massacre: Lessons For Confronting White Supremacy Today, hosted by the Markham-Nathan Fund for Social Justice. Details here.
Dennis Bidwell City Council Ward 2
19 Forbes Avenue
Northampton, MA 01060