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Adams Open Space Plan Nearing Completion

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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The Selectmen chose Town Administrator Jay Green to represent them on the Superintendent Search Committee.
ADAMS, Mass. — The Selectmen reviewed a draft of the updated Open Space Plan that will allow the town to apply for state grants. 
Kevin Towle and Rebecca Ferguson of Community Development Office presented some of their findings from a townwide survey that informed the draft plan.
"I think people in town, their values were very clear and they appreciate the rural nature and open space in Adams," Ferguson said. "They like the cultural amenities and neighborhood sense in town."
The town plans to apply for a state Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities grant that would fund the proposed $425,000 Town Common rehabilitation project. If the town receives the grant, it would be responsible for $127,500 of the project's cost.
In order to apply for this grant, the town needs to update the open space plan that expired in December 2018.
Ferguson said they reached out to the people of Adams with a survey and received 230 responses.
She went over some of the highlights and noted that the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail remains a popular asset in the community and residents like what the town has — but they want more.
"They also said indoor and outdoor recreation opportunities are inadequate specifically for the youth and young adults but in this plan, we have some new and ongoing projects that will address some of that," she said.
She added there was also a request for more picnic tables and picnic areas as well as outdoor entertainment opportunities. 
Ferguson said the Greylock Glen, the proposed Hoosac Valley Coal & Grain Park, and the proposed Memorial Building upgrades should address some of these shortcomings.
She said other boards and commissions will review the document and they hope to have it finalized soon for the July grant deadline.
Selectman Joseph Nowak thanked the two for the extra planning power they bring to Adams.
"I am very happy to see that this is done and I think that as a board we knew we needed help with planning and planners to help," he said. "I would just like to thank you for all of the work you have been doing. It is very important to update all of these plans." 
In other business, the board appointed David Rhinemiller to the Zoning Board of Appeals to temporarily help fill out the five-member board's two vacancies.
"It does leave us with some holes to fill but he will sit through those to give us a full board at the time," Chairwoman Christine Hoyt said. "It will help us get some of these cases through."
Any zoning decision requires four votes so now with four members the board can actually vote as long as every member is present because there are also three vacant alternate seats. 
Town Administrator Jay Green added that the town will look at adopting a law that would allow the ZBA to hear a case without a quorum and the member not present could listen to the meeting at a later time and vote.
Ultimately the town needs to just fill these seats and the Selectmen urged anyone interested in serving on the ZBA to contact town hall.
Rhinemiller said he was willing to stay on for six months.
The board also appointed Dr. Martin Bush to serve on the Hoosac Valley Regional School District Superintendent Search Committee as the Adams at-large member. Members were also asked to appoint someone from their own ranks to serve on the committee but instead, they decided to appoint Green.
"I am happy to do it and represent the board and I think it is an incredibly important position for both Adams and Cheshire," Green said. "I think it is critical that we participate."
The meetings commence in July and all five members of the select board said they had some sort of conflict and could not commit. 

Tags: open space,   public parks,   

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Adams Decides Month-by-Month Budget Going Into Fiscal 2021

By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Correspondent

Chairwoman Christine Hoyt says the board is looking to assist restaurant owners with Phase II of Governor Baker's reopening plan.

ADAMS, Mass. — Town Administrator Jay Green and the Board of Selectmen have decided to go the 1/12th budget route for at least the start of fiscal year 2021.

Municipalities across the commonwealth are struggling to not only finalize budgets because of an uncertain financial outlook brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, but also to find a way to physically hold annual town meetings to get those budgets approved. Both situations factored into the decision for the town to settle on the 1/12th option.

When a town can't finalize a budget before the state mandated June 30 deadline, they must revert back to the prior year's budget and operate on a month-to-month basis. Monthly budgets must be approved by the Selectmen and then forwarded to the state Department of Revenue for its approval. Once that is received, the town can begin to pay its expenses for that month only.

Green and the board had been wavering between trying to predict revenue shortfalls for a reduced budget, forging ahead with original revenue projections, or using the 1/12th option.

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