"We don't have the direct yea or nay approval on this but we're hoping to make a case that this is something the administration has to review a bit more before they just make a decision to close it," said Chairman Benjamin Lamb at Monday's meeting. Lamb developed the resolution based on notes he took during the committee's several meetings about the gun range.
The resolution states the City Council, "Strongly disagrees with the proposed decision to close the range to all public use, as it would eliminate a public resource of importance to a significant portion of the North Adams community."
Mayor Thomas Bernard made the decision to close the range to all but Police Department use after being informed the city's insurer, the Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association, would not cover the range after learning how it was being used.
MIIA had apparently not known that the range had been in public use but agreed to continue coverage to the end of the year.
The range had been established by a sportsmen's club and was acquired along with some other parcels of land on Pattison Road in the 1960s. Some users had approached the city about the regulations and improving the condition of the range, which also brought out neighbors who cited concerns about noise and possible pollution.
The Public Safety Committee had held several meetings to discuss its operations and felt blindsided by the abrupt decision in June to close it. Councilors also questioned the cost being cited for additional insurance to cover the range.
The resolution calls for the administration to work with the permitted users to find "appropriate insurance and coordinate any needed financial action to support said insurance cost."
Committee member Jason LaForest said the quotes they had been provided at the last meeting by an insurance agent was "not significant in terms of cost" and thought it could be included in the budget. He was concerned about one clause in the resolution that refers to the permitted users being willing to support it financially.
"I don't the users should necessarily be responsible for the cost of procuring insurance for the gun range ... if it's $700, $1,000, I think the city should just pay it, frankly," LaForest said. "We have a budget of $42 million. Adding $700 to cover a rider for the gun range seems, to me, reasonable."
Lamb said he'd put that clause in because the council cannot add to the budget. "They're going to have to work together to get there," he said.
The resolution also references the 2nd Amendment right of citizens to bear arms and states the range provides a safe venue for practice shooting and sighting of guns that might otherwise have to happen in other wooded or public spaces. The range's users, it states, "have proven to be safe, conscientious, and caring gun owners and users" who have contributed "their own time and energy to keep the range as nice as possible."
The committee reviewed the language in the resolution and made several changes, replacing "members" in several places with "permitted gate keyholders" to avoid portraying the range's users as part of a club. Gun-range users are required to pay for a yearly permit through the Police Department and are given a key allowing them to enter through the locked gate. There had been concern over the number of keys and duplicates that might be floating around but the Police Department has begun switching out the lock, requiring users to apply to get a new key.
The city currently has 82 permitted keyholders, an increase from about 60 at the beginning of the year. Lamb wasn't sure if the new permits had been issued after the publicized discussions about the range or after the mayor's announcement it would close.
Although the amended resolution is on the agenda for Tuesday's City Council meeting, it is expected to be postponed until October.
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Not that long ago, most people worked for some type of an organization, such as a business or the government or a school district. But today, more and more workers are going their own way and joining what's known as the "gig" economy. If you will be one of them, you'll want to make the right moves to advance your financial goals in what can be a challenging work environment.
But first, you may find some comfort in knowing the prevalence of gig work. About 36 percent of U.S. workers are now gig workers, according to a study from the Gallup organization, which defines the gig economy as one made up of a variety of arrangements – independent contractors, online platform workers, contract workers, on-call workers, temporary workers and freelancers. People join the gig economy for many reasons, but most of them, like you, could benefit by considering these actions:
Establish your own retirement plan. When you're a full-time employee, your employer may offer a 401(k) or similar retirement plan. But as a gig worker, you need to save for your own retirement. Fortunately, you've got a lot of attractive options. Depending on your circumstances, you might be able to open a SEP-IRA or even a "solo" or "owner-only" 401(k), which offers many of the same features of an employer-sponsored 401(k). Both these plans allow you to make pre-tax contributions, which can lower your taxable income. Plus, your earnings can grow on a tax-deferred basis. (Keep in mind that taxes will be due upon withdrawal, and any withdrawals you make before you turn 59 1/2 may be subject to a 10 percent IRS penalty.)
Create an emergency fund. Working in the gig economy can bring rewards and risks. And one of those risks is unpredictable – and often uneven – cash flow. This can be a cause for concern during times when you face a large unexpected expense, such as a major car repair or medical bill. To avoid dipping in to your long-term investments to pay for these costs, you should establish an emergency fund containing at least six months' worth of living expenses, with the money kept in a liquid, low-risk account.
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