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Adams DPW Eyed For New Equipment In Proposed Budget

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
09:40PM / Monday, April 02, 2012
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ADAMS, Mass. — The Department of Public Works could be getting the most of $277,000 eyed for capital investments.

The town has neglected capital improvements in recent years and with revenues improving, officials are making plans for projects and purchases. A Capital Planning Committee recently met for the first time in seven years to begin planning for the next five years. But more immediately, Town Administrator Jonathan Butler has proposed $277,000 worth of upgrades in the 2013 budget.

The Department of Public Works would be seeing $167,150 of that money. The department would be looking to install a snowplow, wing and controls on a truck purchased in 2010 for $32,000; to purchase a new dump truck for $57,250; and replace a sander body for $15,000. For parks and grounds, the department would purchase a new grave defroster for $1,200 and a walk-behind mower, weed trimmers and cab for a backhoe at $5,700. The wastewater treatment plant would get two camp gate regulators for $18,000.

The second biggest portion in capital expenses is $75,000 for engineering at the library. The Adams Free Library is in need of nearly $1 million of repairs that include a new roof, masonry work in the front portion of the building and becoming compliance with the Americans with Disability Act, according to Butler.

"The $75,000 would be used to bring on an engineer who can get us shovel ready on one or two major projects," Butler told the Board of Selectmen on Monday while the board continued to review the budget. "I think this is a really good starting point."

While the engineers plan out the work, Butler said staff will be looking at ways to pay for the repairs — such as a fundraising campaign or grants.

Thirdly, the Police Department is eyeing a new cruiser. According to Police Chief Donald Poirot, the department has not bought a new vehicle in four years. Poirot said last week that, ideally, the department would be getting a new vehicle every year but it has been able to extend the life of its vehicles to get through the last few difficult economic years.

The police now want to replace a Ford Crown Victoria with an all-wheel drive Ford Interceptor SUV for $35,000. The Selectmen questioned Poirot last week about gas mileage and usage but ultimately voted in favor of the plan. Poirot said the SUV will get about the same gas mileage as the Crown Victoria and that it will be assigned to specific officers, as is done with all vehicles.

Also regarding the budget, the town is being assessed about the same amount as last year for McCann Technical School. The town will be sending a three more students — for a total of 128 — in the coming year, which adds about $6,000 to the assessment. However, the town's transportation payment is about $5,000 lower than this year and the capital payment is down by about $1,000.

Overall, McCann's budget increased by 1.74 percent from $7,973,013 to $8,111,849. Adams' total payment is $622,788, which is down from this year's assessment of $622,968.

"This is a great investment," Selectwoman Paula Melville said as the Selectmen raved about McCann's education.

The board approved the budget for more than two dozen departments on Monday in its third budget meeting. The only budget remaining for the board's consideration is the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District.

The school district is proposing an $18 million budget, which will raise the town's assessment by .6 percent. The town will be asked to pay $3,964,097 of that budget.

Tags: capital projects,   town budget,   

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