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Town Accountant Mary Beverly presents her budget to the Board of Selectmen on Thursday night.

Mandated Study Causes Revamp of Adams Wastewater Budget

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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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. 

Tags: adams_budget,   fiscal 2020,   

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Adams Board of Health Ready for Tobacco Cap Hearing

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Health finalized its new tobacco regulation draft and will vote on it after a public hearing.
"We have a final draft so on to our next meeting," Chairman David Rhoads said of the monthslong process.
Late last year, the Board of Health agreed to implement a new regulation that would limit the amount of tobacco sales permits allowed in town. The new regulation would not affect those already selling tobacco products.
The board went through several months of edits and member Laura Grandchamp felt it was ready to go to public hearing.
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