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The Board of Selectmen hear from COA Director Erica Girgenti about the Senior Center's free tax prep services available at the Visitor's Center. Call 413-743-8333 for an appointment.

Adams Town Staff Making Every Effort For 2020 Census

By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Correspondent
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Town Clerk Haley Meczywor and COA Director Erica Girgenti talked about the local and federal censuses Wednesday.
 
ADAMS, Mass. — Town officials are making sure that everyone gets counted in the 2020 Census. 
 
Town Clerk Haley Meczywor and Adams Council on Aging Director Erica Girgenti laid out a plan to Selectmen on Wednesday night for getting a high return rate on the massive decennial undertaking.
 
"A lot of people, because it coincides with the (yearly) town census, say 'Oh I already got that.' It is very different. It's very important for a lot of different reasons," Girgenti told the board. "There are a few changes that are happening in this Census that community members would never have seen in previous Censuses. Haley, myself, and our local Librarian Holli Jayko have partnered together to set up a series of informational sessions in our community."
 
Issues the Census affects include, but certainly aren't limited to, many avenues of federal funding, grant money, public safety funding, and even job creation. Population and demographic data the Census provides also leads directly to the number of congressmen by which their particular state will be represented. Massachusetts did indeed lose a congressional seat after the 2010 Census that resulted in redistricting in the western portion of the state. 
 
Selectman John Duval, who sits on the executive committee of the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, also stressed the importance of filling out the census.
 
"The Census determines Title 1 aid, which our school district does receive. All of our federal grants, the school federal grants, federal highway projects. It's huge in the number of people it impacts in our community," he said.
 
Girgenti ran through what to expect when it comes to recognizing and filling out the 2020 census.
 
"They are requesting that you do the return digitally. Between March 12th and 20th you'll expect an invitation in the mail to respond to the Census. That will look like a small postcard with an identification number on it. The community members will have to go online ... and enter that information."
 
Girgenti said two reminders will be sent out after the initial mailing if the Census still has not been filled out. After the reminders, a paper questionnaire might be sent out with another reminder. Finally, she said if you still fail to fill it out "the door knockers will come."
 
Citing the older demographic in Adams, Girgenti listed several dates the town will be holding workshops or help sessions to fill out the Census forms.
 
Two information sessions will be held March 9 at 11 a.m. and March 12 at 6 p.m., both at the Senior Center.
 
Six help sessions to fill out the Census:
  • April 1, 9 to 11 a.m. at the Mill Houses
  • April 2, 9 to 10 a.m. at Barrett House
  • April 3, 9 to 11 a.m. at Adams Housing Authority, 4 Columbia St.
  • April 9, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the library
  • April 14, 9 to 11 a.m. at the Senior Center
Girgenti, Meczywor, and Jayko will have laptops available at all six sites to assist anyone who is having trouble filling out the census.
 
Meczywor doesn't want residents to forget the smaller, but no less important, local census sent out every year by the town. 
 
"Everyone should have received the annual town census in the mail by now. If you haven't I suggest you call Town Hall and inquire why you haven't received it. Included with the census is a dog license application so if anyone wants to fill that out, we are more than happy to license your dog and mail it back to you. Also included is an informational sheet about the federal Census for 2020," Meczywor said.
 
Meczywor said her office tries to hit a 65 percent return rate for the town census. The clerk's office will accept town censuses the entire year.

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Adams Board of Health Ready to Finalize Tobacco Regulations

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Health wrapped up final edits on new tobacco regulations last week and inched closer to a public hearing.
 
Members answered some lingering questions Wednesday in regard to the proposed tobacco sales permit and hope to vote on a final draft next month.
 
"Thank you for going through this with a fine-toothed comb," board member David Rhoads said. "It looks good."
 
Some months ago, 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.
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