Treasurer's Salary Gives Adams Finance Committee Pause

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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The Finance Committee called a delay on the treasurer/collector's budget until the post's salary could be researched further.

ADAMS, Mass. — The Finance Committee decided to table during Monday night's budget meeting the approval of the treasurer/ collector personnel expenses because of uncertainties regarding salaries.

Treasurer/Collector Holly Denault will retire May 5 after 10 years of service. According to the 2015 fiscal budget, the new treasurer/collector to be elected on May 5 will receive the same salary as Denault.

"The issue is something we should discuss further before we vote on it, and I'm certainly not opposed to that and I think it's a sensible thing to do," committee member David Allen said.

Town Administrator Jonathan Butler explained that the town figures this salary by what is set annually during a town meeting.

"This is the current rate it is set at and when we write the budget, we simply subscribe to last year's amount," Butler said. "It's at the pleasure of the town meeting what they want to pay the [elected] officials."

Some committee members mentioned changing the full-time position into an appointed position. Butler said this would mean changing the town charter.

"It's a whole process that has to originate from the people," Butler said.

The treasure/collector must attend a program and serve a certain amount of time before becoming certified in Massachusetts. Committee member Sandra Kleiner said this should be taken into account by town meeting.

"I don't really think town meeting understands the structure of our elected position like that, and it is really more about educating the members because this is a really critical position," she said.

Butler agreed to speak with other communities about how they have dealt with the post and look for possible options.

In addition to tabling this budget item, the committee approved the purchase of a repeater that will expand emergency communications. The antenna will strengthen the signal and allow the handheld radios used by the police to function more efficiency. The repeater will be placed at Hoosac Valley High School, which is a known telecommunications "dead zone" and safety issue.

"It's a step that we need to take at this point in time because of immediate concerns, but it could be the first of a couple of steps that we will make in the next few years," Butler said.

Police Chief Richard Tarsa said the repeater will help communications issues, but will not fix all of them. He added that it would be beneficial to add more towers in the future.

"This is our commitment to a long-term solution, and this is our first step," Tarsa said.

The committee approved all other items on the budget list Monday night. 

Tags: fiscal 2015,   town budget,   treasurer,   

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