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The Selectmen discuss transfer station operations at Wednesday's workshop meeting.

Adams Reviews Transfer Station Operations

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The Selectmen are reviewing transfer station operations, which currently is operating at a deficiency. 
 
"We have a pretty substantial structural deficit and we need to look at methods such as cost control or fee increases," said Kevin Towle, executive assistant to the town administrator, said at Wednesday's workshop meeting. "I think we have to weigh the desire to provide a service while offsetting its cost."
 
Town Administrator Jay Green went over some projected numbers and explained that even with anticipated revenues, the town will be looking at deficit between $59,666 and $76,306 at the end of the fiscal year.
 
He did note that the town wants to provide the service and the only goal would be to work toward cost neutrality. He said the budget will be able to absorb the cost.  
 
"This deficit number does not mean we will have to make a budgetary transfer it is just what we have coming in form a revenue picture and what is going out," Green said. "The budget can cover this and it is just a matter of figuring out what we can do to make this pay for itself."
 
The Selectmen felt people were abusing the transfer station and that ultimately costs the town. Selectman Joseph Nowak said people use the transfer station without stickers and use larger bags than allowed.
 
Nowak noted that he did not blame the attendant because it is a lot to oversee for a single person but there is an enforcement issue.
 
Selectman John Duval agreed.
 
"We need enforcement and we need someone right there," he said. "Games are being played."
 
Treasurer Kelly Rice suggested having a police officer randomly visit the transfer station and Green said they could also look at a more official uniform for the attendant and pushing that the employee take more of a stance against abusers. 
 
Green said one option would be to only allow a certain number of vehicles in at a time so the attendant can oversee what is actually going on. He added this would most certainly cause traffic backups.  
 
A solution would be to hire a second person, but this would be too costly. 
 
Green did inform the Selectmen that they can expect another cost to remove brush that has been accumulating since 2017.
 
He said the state Department of Environmental Protection will not allow the town to burn the brush and composting is not an option. 
 
The only option is to chip and remove the material but the town does not have equipment large enough to accomplish this.
 
He said would have to pay $15,000 for a mobile chipper to visit town.
 
Green said he could see if North Adams would be interested in splitting the cost if the city has material to chip but this would still be expensive. 
 
Looking toward the future, Green said the town could look at limiting the window in which brush could be dropped off. He said they could also charge people but then the transfer station attendant would have to handle money and people may not accept another fee.
 
He said they could always stop accepting brush but Selectman James Bush did not think this would fly.
 
"I can't see doing that because last time that rumor got out the whole town was up in arms over it," he said.
 
Green said he would bring possible solutions to the board as well as possible fee increases at a future meeting. 

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Three Berkshires Women Named 'Unsung Heroines'


Liz Mitchell and state Rep. John Barrett III at Tuesday's 2019 Unsung Heroine ceremony at the State House. 

BOSTON — Three Berkshires women were named Unsung Heroines for 2019 during a State House ceremony on Tuesday.

State Sen. Adam G. Hinds nominated Donna Cesan for this recognition because of her dedication to community, having served as Community Development Director and interim Town Administrator for the town of Adams for 19 years.

Elizabeth "Liz" Mitchell, a North Adams resident and advocate for domestic violance victims with the Elizabeth Freeman Center, was nominated by state Rep. John Barrett III and Marie Richardson of Pittsfield, a caseworker in the Pittsfield Public Schools, was nominated by state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier.

"Donna has selflessly given countless hours of her time to ensure Adams is moving in the right direction," said Hinds. "She is well-respected in her hometown of Lanesborough, and the town of Adams is well-served by her. She is absolutely an Unsung Heroine for her dedication to our region and her professionalism, which is effortlessly showcased in all of her projects."

Massachusetts Commission of the Status of Women annually celebrates "unsung heroines" who don't always make the news, but who make a difference. They are the women who use their time, talent and enthusiasm to enrich the lives of others and make a difference in their neighborhoods, cities and towns. They are mentors, volunteers and innovators who do what needs to be done without expectations of recognition or gratitude. These women are the glue that keeps a community together and every community is better because of their contribution.   

Hinds said Cesan has dedicated her career to public service. As the director of community development, she has spearheaded economic development projects with big impact, like the construction of a platform for the Adams terminus of the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum's Hoosac Valley Service, the renovation of the Adams Visitor Center parking lot and implementing the community's vision for the Greylock Glen. Since 2014, she has been asked twice by the Board of Selectmen to also serve as interim town administrator, managing every aspect of municipal government for months, while also promoting community development initiatives in town.
 
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