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Adams to Improve Water Emergency Communication

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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Wayne Piaggi addresses the Board of Selectmen about revitalizing the dorman Agricultural Commission.
ADAMS, Mass. — The Selectmen have pledged to improve communication with the Fire District regarding water system emergencies.
 
At the close of Wednesday night's meeting, Chairman John Duval thanked the Fire District for being available and following protocol during the recent boil water order but noted the town could still improve upon communication on all ends.
 
"They did inform the board but there are a lot of things that we can improve on … we are going to work with the Fire District and the Board of Health, so we have a plan ready," Duval said. "I know communication could have been better."
 
In late August, the Adams Fire District had been informed that a sample collected from a water storage tank tested for E. coli. A second sample from a residence near the storage tank also tested for total coliform.
 
Repeat tests over the week of the tanks, samples from two other residences, and a test of the district’s well did not show any coliform bacteria.
 
The state Department of Environmental Protection lifted the boil order a few days later after further testing.
 
Duval said the district did follow protocol but pointed to comments on social media that blasted the town and Fire District. Although he reiterated that improvements need to be made in communication, such negativity is not proactive.
 
"In the past, we have had emergencies in this community, county, and country and the town of Adams has always come together," he said. "We have always done this in the past."
 
Selectwoman Christine Hoyt did thank the Fire District for being present at a Board of Health public hearing to discuss the order. 
 
In other business, the town wants to revitalize the now dormant Agricultural Commission.
 
After appointing Emilie Krzanik to the commission, the Selectmen called on the only other member of the commission, Wayne Piaggi, to ask about the status of the commission.
 
"We haven't had a board for an awfully long time," Selectman and former commission member Joseph Nowak said. "It is a really important committee to have up and running and I think it is very important that we help out our farmers and anyone interested in agricultural because it is such a prominent part of our past."
 
Piaggi said the commission is a seven-member board so at least four members would be needed for a quorum.
 
He said although he has been unable to recruit members this past year, he was ready to restart this process and was happy to have Krzanik aboard.
 
"I am going to aggressively go out to the town and find more board members," he said. "I do get emails and I do talk to the farmers in town to see if we can help them with anything, but I have been doing it pretty much on my own."
 
Piaggi said he does have some projects he would like a working commission to work on and that once a commission is up and running, he would like to initiate community gardens and help create relationships between business and local farms.
 
"There are a lot of ideas out there and one I had was farm to plate with the restaurants and starting neighborhood gardens to get people involved that way," he said. "But I can't do it by myself I need a quorum." 
 
Piaggi said local farmers or those with an agricultural background would be assets to the commission but noted really anyone is welcome on the commission.
 
The commission would likely only meet monthly and members would be asked to meet with farmers and businesses.
 
He added that having a commission would open the town to more grant funding.
 
Piaggi was at the meeting because the board appointed him to the Zoning Board of Appeals as an alternate
 
The board also voted to declare that a portion of the Memorial Building as available property.
 
Interim Town Administrator Donna Cesan said the state mandates that the town make this declaration and noted that although the Selectmen made this same motion some years ago, she recommended that they do it again.
 
"Four or five years ago the board did make this declaration but because so much time has lapsed I think it would be appropriate to vote to declare the property as available," she said. "This would be a first step in implementing the board's intent to develop the classroom wing of the school building."
 
The town has been looking to repurpose the former school for some time. Funds were secured to repair the roof but only recently was the town awarded Community Development Block Grant funds to replace the heating and cooling system.
 
The plan is to attract a developer to take on the classroom wing and install housing of some kind.
 
The rest of the building will be used for community space and possibly a new home for the Council on Aging.
 
Cesan said the request for proposals for the classroom wing should go out at the end of the month.

Tags: agricultural commission,   water district,   

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