ADAMS, Mass. — Town officials had to do swift revamp of the wastewater treatment plant budget on Thursday after learning an expensive study would be ordered by the state.
The Selectmen had reviewed the operational plan of $304,371, a 2.65 percent increase, on Wednesday and capital expenses that were down 49.38 percent for a budget of $40,500.
Director Robert Rumbolt had asked for a few thousand dollars extra in his labor and parts line items to bring funding levels up to what is actually spent. He also requested a new vehicle.
But he arrived for talks on Thursday with Accountant Mary Beverly and new Town Administrator Jay Green bearing bad news: the plant's engineer had emailed him that the state Department of Environmental Protection would be requiring a study for the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System.
The cost is estimated at $20,000.
"He was very upset," said Town Accountant Mary Beverly told the Selectmen on Thursday night. "He said he knew he asked for extra but now he needed $20,000 more."
Beverly said they looked through the department's budget and she found it had an extra employee who could be moved.
One employee was shifted to the Department of Public Works from the budget and seasonal workers reduced by 1.5 and $20,000 added for the study. Beverly said the department's budget came in a penny under.
"It worked out like a dream come true," she said. "This only happens once in a lifetime. ...
"All the guys will be happy, Bob is very happy. Bob has made peace with not getting a new truck. Bob is pleased he's going to get his engineering and parts money and everything's square."
Chairman John Duval asked if the town had received a notice from DEP. Green said not yet but the engineer had told Rumbolt it would be mandatory. Duval asked that once the letter arrived it be forwarded to the Selectmen.
Green, who started this week, said he had continued talks with departments heads after Wednesday's reviews of their budgets.
"We had very robust conversations after last night's presentations from the wastewater superintendent as well as the operations supervisor from the DPW," he said. "Some excellent pitches for the departments for the betterment of the community."
Thursday's workshop meeting was to continue reviewing the fiscal 2020 spending plan of $15,847,248 that represents a 1.27 percent increase over this year.
The board breezed through finance and technology; town assessor; tax collector/treasurer; town clerk; emergency management; forest wardens; veterans services; and executive budgets in less than an hour.
These budgets were showed minimal increases or were level funded. The major elements were for technology needs, including a new townwide server at a cost of $58,000.
"It's like five servers in one and it serves the entire town," Beverly said.
The money would not come from the operational budget but rather using $24,000 from the technology fund and $34,000 from free cash. The technology fund would also be tapped for another $5,000 for new Windows server licensing.
The assessor is also asking for a replacement for assessing software that is no longer being provided by the state. The cost for a new program is $10,000, with $5,000 for data entry to move the data to the new program and field review by the Department of Revenue at $5,000, half of which will be covered by the vendor.
The board will continue the budget review next week.
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Suffrage Centennial Committee Kicks Off Yearlong Celebration
By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Correspondent
Cassandra Peltier as Alva Belmont Vanderbilt, a prominent figure in the suffrage movement.
ADAMS, Mass. — About 75 people filled The Manor on Saturday afternoon for the kickoff event of a yearlong celebration of Susan B. Anthony and the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote.
The event at St. John Paul II Parish's Italianate mansion was organized by the Adams Suffrage Centennial Celebration Committee. The committee serves as an advisory committee to the Board of Selectmen.
Anthony was born in Adams and was a social reformer best known for spearheading the women's suffrage movement. She was also involved in the anti-slavery movement, collecting signatures for petitions as a teen, the temperance (prohibition of alcohol) movement, and women's financial rights.
Retired school teacher Mary Whitman, committee member and host for the day, shared why Anthony's work was so important.
Only two candidates will be interviewed Thursday for the Adams Cheshire Regional School District superintendent position with candidate Martin McEvoy withdrawing his name from consideration. click for more
The Parks Commission on Monday took care of most of the fall requests for field usage. Four separate groups were represented and although a few issues cropped up, all requests were approved. click for more
Adams Conservation Commission praised the use of an organic herbicide on the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail.
At Thursday’s commission meeting members discussed the process that resulted in an organic herbicide being applied along the trail to knock down some overgrown vegetation. click for more