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Adams is seeking state funding and grants to revamp the town common into the Susan B. Anthony Memorial Park. Town meeting will be asked to transfer $127,00 in free cash for the matching grant.

Adams Seek Funding for Town Common and SBA Celebration

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The Selectmen have approved a letter in support of a state budget amendment that would secure funds for the Susan B. Anthony Memorial Park.
 
Town Administrator Jay Green told the board on Wednesday that he had received communications from Sen. Adam Hinds' office in regard to a state budget amendment that would secure nearly $50,000 for the park.
 
"This is a letter of support coming from the Board of the Selectmen and the town administrator saying that we all support the legislation," Green said.
 
The town plans to hold a celebration in 2020 marking Anthony's 200th birthday and the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote. The Adams Suffrage Centennial Committee was formed a few years ago to steer this process and set a goal of $300,000 to fund the celebration and erect a statue to Anthony.
 
The group has reached funding levels needed to have the statue made but Selectman and Adams Suffrage Centennial Committee member Joseph Nowak said there is still more work to do.
 
"This would be a great help to us. Whether we get it or not is still an unknown," he said.
 
The statue is slated to stand on the Town Common, which the town plans to overhaul at a cost of $425,000. Nowak said the common is in bad shape. 
 
"That town common is in really poor shape. It hasn't had anything done to it it since it was put there in I believe 1984," he said. "It is deplorable and needs to be refurbished."
 
The annual town meeting warrant will include an article that will appropriate this amount hopefully mostly through a grant. The plan is to allocate $127,000 from free cash and apply for a $297,500 grant.
 
"The philosophy is in order to get the grant, the town has to invest some of their own money and that goes for any other community," Selectman John Duval said. "So if we don't go for it, another community will."
 
In other business, the Selectmen voted to accept an amendment to the fiscal 2019 Adams Cheshire Regional School District budget to mitigate a budgeting error made this year and last.  
 
"Throughout this entire process the school district has been incredibly communicative," Green said. "They have done a tremendous job trying to find a way to resolve this."
 
Superintendent John Vosburgh said the wrong number was used in the assessment formula, which led to Cheshire being overassessed and Adams being underassessed.
 
Green noted the Mount Greylock Regional School District made the same error.
 
This issue was corrected in the fiscal 2020 budget and the district hoped to fix the issue in the fiscal 2019 budget within the budget. 
 
To do this, the district used used $71,370 from the excess and deficiency account to lower the assessments to the towns. Because of the funding ratio between the two towns, Cheshire will receive a $124,892 decrease while Adams will have to pay back $53,000.
 
This does not affect the bottom line of the budget and a payment plan will be set up between the district and the town.
 
Duval said he was happy the issue was resolved but asked if any measures were going to be put in place to make sure it doesn't happen again.
 
Vosburgh said they plan to develop a clear budget timeline and hold more meetings with town officials.
 
"We want there to be a bit of a trail or map, if you will, going through the process with checks and balances along the way," he said. 
 
Nowak added that although mistakes happen this kind of mistake can't happen again.
 
"Mistakes happen ... but that is a good amount of money and we are not a lucrative community," he said. "I am glad we found this but we lost $53,000 in short ... people make mistakes but this kind of mistake can't happen again."
 
Cheshire also accepted the amendment. If the two towns did not accept the amendment, the issue would have to go to town meeting. If it ultimately failed, the discrepancy would be out of the district's hands and left to the towns to resolve.

Tags: anniversary,   centennial,   public parks,   Susan B. Anthony,   

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BART Announces Upcoming Enrollment Deadline

ADAMS, Mass. — Berkshire Arts and Technology (BART) Charter Public School is currently accepting applications for students in grades 6 - 10 for the 2021-2022 school year.
 
The next enrollment deadline for the 2020-2021 school year for grades 6 - 10 is Thursday, May 13, 2021, at 12:00 p.m. The easiest way to apply is to click here or to type https://www.bartcharter.org/apps/form/Enrollment-Form into your web brower.
 
More information on the school's enrollment and lottery process can be found at www.bartcharter.org. Interested families should contact the school at 413-743-7311 ext 732 or enrollment@bartcharter.org. Please reach out to the Enrollment Team with any questions.
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