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The Selectmen set a special town meeting to approve the declaration of a state of emergency.

Adams Sets Emergency Town Meeting

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The Selectmen have voted to hold a special town meeting on Thursday, Oct. 25, solely to approve the recent state of emergency declaration.

The board members met in emergency session Tuesday to set the special town meeting that would officially allow the town to deficit spend to mitigate recent flood damage.

"It is basically a one-article warrant, which is basically proposing emergency spending through borrowing or other means up to $2.5 million," interim Town Administrator Donna Cesan said. "It is my hope that we would not need to spend this money ultimately but right now it's very difficult to get hard numbers … and it felt prudent to ask for this amount."

The board voted earlier this month to declare a state of emergency to allow the town to deficit spend and open the town to possible state funding.

Although the town can spend this money right away, town meeting still must approve the declaration

Adams was hit by two storms in mid-September that caused damaging flooding throughout town. Damage has left some areas in town inaccessible to emergency vehicles.

The town was left with an estimated $2 million in damage and, currently, state representatives are trying to secure some funding.

Cesan said the state's Division of Local Services has reviewed the town’s declaration and has approved it.

"They have received our list of emergency repairs … and they basically approved our request," she said. "We haven’t spent any funds yet. We started to engage engineers and we are getting quotes from contractors."

Cesan said the Division of Local Services recommended only expending money after the Board of Selectmen set the new tax rate, which it will do next week.

She said the priority repairs would be on East Road and Glen Street.

"Those need to be done as soon as we can get them done," she said. "The situation is worsening."

Cesan said the town will take out smaller amounts of money instead of a large loan to defray interest costs.

"We would basically take out smaller notes because of the spending will occur over time to save money on interest costs because we really don’t know at this point what the final tally will be," she said. "We may be getting money from a grant or some supplemental appropriation."

Cesan added that the town will also fund watershed studies, so they can get a better understanding of how to correct flooding issues in the future.

The special town meeting will be held in the Hoosac Valley Elementary School auditorium on Thursday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m.

Tags: flooding,   special town meeting,   storm damage,   

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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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