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The Selectmen on Wednesday set a special town meeting to bond road repairs from last year's Tropical Storm Irene.

Adams Sets Special Town Meeting For Hurricane Repairs

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
09:13PM / Wednesday, September 19, 2012
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Town Administrator Jonathan Butler said the $191,000 represents the total cost taxpayers are responsible for the projects associated with Hurricane Irene.
ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen have called a special town meeting next month to handle paying for repairs relating to Hurricane Irene.

Town Administrator Jonathan Butler said he will be looking for approval to bond $191,000 in a five-year note to pay for various repairs the town made in the wake of the last year's hurricane.

The special town meeting will be held at C.T. Plunkett Elementary School on Monday, Oct. 29.

The board approved deficit spending and for Butler to make executive decisions regarding the repairs in the wake of the storm.

The total settling on the town's shoulders is about $191,000 but since discussion of where to get the funding went too long, town meeting approval is required to bond it.

"There was a window when we could do it as an executive order but that window is now closed," Butler told the board on Wednesday.

Butler is expecting the Retirement Board and other departments to also have article requests. What won't be on the warrant is money for the Charles Street Bridge.

The bridge was destroyed by flooding during the storm but the Federal Emergency Management Agency would not reimburse the town for the full cost of the repairs because it was damaged prior to Irene's arrival and it is on an unaccepted road. The estimated cost to replace or repair the bridge is $250,000.

The Selectmen did not support spending that type of money for repairs last week after emergency personnel reported that the loss of the bridge will not delay their responses. On Wednesday, the topic was brought up but none of the Selectmen motioned to support a warrant article.

Residents still have the ability to add it but it would require a citizen's petition with 200 signatures of town voters.

In other business, the state Department of Conservation and Recreation is looking to purchase 394 acres in Adams to add to the Savoy State Forest.

The land is located off 329 East Mountain Road and is owned by Robert Fritz and Lynne Lattin. Selectmen Chairman Arthur "Skip" Harrington read a request from DCR asking the board to waive a 120-day waiting period but the Selectmen were not comfortable doing so without more details.

"I don't know if it is good for the town or not," Selectman Michael Ouellette said.

The sale is between the private owners and DCR but without knowing the intent of the waiver period, the board tabled the request until the next meeting.

Butler said the lot is unbuildable and is not taxed at a high level now so the town could benefit from a higher payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) from the state.

Town Counsel Edmund St. John III said the property was the subject of a land court ruling in the 1970s that may have regarded the town's access to the land, which could prove to be another benefit. However, St. John III said he was not part of that litigation so he will have to research the details.

Also on Wednesday, Butler reported that the town is close to reaching an agreement to join the CodeRed alert system. Both North Adams and Pittsfield recently implemented the system that sends notifications to anyone who has signed up for the system, particularly used for emergency notifications. The town will be able to send out unlimited calls at a cost of $7,000 per year.

Tags: Irene,   road work,   town meeting,   

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