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Police Chief Richard Tarsa explains his budget to the Selectmen on Thursday.

Adams Selectmen Approve $15.8M Budget for Fiscal 2020

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen has approved a fiscal 2020 budget of $15.8 million.
The board finished its budget hearings Thursday night and unanimously voted to approve a spending plan that is an increase of 1.27% increase over fiscal 2019.
"I want to thank everyone for the work that they have done," Chairman John Duval said. "It is another year, another wrap."
Selectwoman Christine Hoyt abstained from voting on the Board of Health budget because her husband, Peter Hoyt, is on that board and Selectman Joseph Nowak abstained from the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District budget because he substitute teaches in the district.
Before the vote, the Selectmen did review the last few sections of the budget that included the Police Department, Community Development, Adams Free Library, and Inspection Services.
The police budget was the largest item with an operating budget of $92,065, which is a .18% increase, and personnel budget of $1,750,933, which is a 3.9% increase.
"Honestly there are some additions we could look at, however, within the confines of the budget, we will be able to manage going forward," Police Chief Richard Tarsa said. "There are a few things in here that have slightly increased but that is just the cost of doing business."
Tarsa did not ask for a new cruiser this year because all of the current cruisers are on their replacement schedule.
"We are a year ahead of time," he said. 
The police station budget of $27,762, parking management budget of $26,817, and animal control officer budget of $27,739 were also included in this section. 
Parking management and animal control will now be a split position and one employee will hold both duties.
"If they are out reading meters and there is an animal call they are going to take that call," Tarsa said. "This was designed to be really flexible."
The Community Development Office's personnel services budget of $114,887 increased 33.7%. This increase was mostly driven by the addition of an administrative assistant for which the department is cost sharing with Inspection Services.
"Half of her time will be with Inspection Services and half of her time will be with Community Development," Community Development Donna Cesan said.
The operating budget of $115,425 actually decreased by 2.53%.
Also included in this section were various town boards and commissions that were mostly level funded.
The library's personnel budget of $203,714 increased by 10.62%. This increase reflects the addition of a part-time position that was once filled by a senior citizen worker through a tax work-off plan.
The operating budget of $70,168 is down 12.82% to compensate for this new employee.
"It is essentially level funded. The operating budget looks like it is down around $10,000 but that was moved to personnel," Library Director Holli Jayko said. "Otherwise everything is level funded."
The Inspection Services personnel budget of $197,912 decreased by 10.84% because of the shared administrative assistant.
The department's operating budget of $5,745 decreased by 23.14%.
Weights and measures is level funded and the Board of Health budget decreased 37.49%.
"This matches much more closely to what we spend and what we anticipate spending and it's a few dollars lower," Board of Health Chairman David Rhoads said.
The Selectmen approved their budget with three votes: one vote for the town budget of $9,689,945, one vote for the Adams-Cheshire school assessment of $5,140,669, and another for the McCann Technical School assessment of $1,010,634
This was the last of four budget meetings during which the Selectmen reviewed the entire budget.
The budget will now go to the Finance Committee for review.


Tags: adams_budget,   fiscal 2020,   

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BArT Grad: 2020 Not a Dream Year, Not 'a Freak Show'

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS,  Mass. — At a time when most are thinking of limitless potential and endless possibilities, BArT senior Will Schrade invited his classmates to embrace mediocrity.
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He was one of four Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School students to provide "senior reflections" during Saturday's hourlong graduation exercises, the first virtual high school graduation in Berkshire County.
Delivering his remarks in a highly unconventional forum, Schrade took the highly conventional step of framing his remarks around a bit of pop culture. In his case, he reflected on an episode of the situation comedy "Community," in which the characters go through various timelines to show how their world would change based on a random event, a toss of a die
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