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The waste district committee meets outside for its July meeting.

Northern Berkshire Waste District Finalizes Casella Agreement

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The Northern Berkshire Solid Waste Management District has signed off on a proposed five-year contract with Casella Waste Systems.
"This has been a six or seven-month process and I feel that we have done our due diligence," Program Director Linda Cernik said at Thursday's meeting, held outside the Adams Visitors Center.. "We didn't rush it and we took our time ... honesty I feel this is a good contract. It is a little bit higher than I anticipated but we knew that." 
The district previously held a contract with Republic Services and recently went out to bid for a new contract. Casella Waste Management purchased some assets of Republic in 2019.
Changes were minor and mostly reflected small language tweaks 
"I kind of want to pat all of us on the back because this was a pretty big contract and without having any legal background we did a pretty good job," Cernik said. "The recommendations from the attorney were good but think we did a good job negotiating it and putting it all together." 
The district anticipates that waste removal rates will go up. 
Cernik gave an update on the planned partnership with North Adams and said conversations about the proposed Center For Hard to Recycle Materials (CHARM) at the North Adams transfer station are ongoing. 
"I think it is a nice collaboration," she said. "I think it will be an asset to the smaller towns who do not have the brush and electronics and we will resume this discussion."..
The district is made up of 13 communities in North Berkshire. The city of North Adams had considered becoming a member but decided partnering on certain programs would be more beneficial. 
Cernik took a moment to update the committee on recent collections during the pandemic and said things are going well.
"Residents are being respectful and wearing masks and we are wearing masks," she said.  
She did thank all those involved in keeping the district functioning during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
"We have kept this going throughout the whole pandemic," she said. "It was nerve-racking at first but everyone folded in and followed CDC guidelines. Could you imagine if trash got shut down?"
The committee did agree to take the month of August off especially now with the contract squared away.
Cernik did ask the members to think about some districtwide goals for their September meeting.
"Think about goals and what do we want to accomplish as a district," she said.

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Adams Board of Health Addresses Open Meeting Law Issue

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — Because of a possible Open Meeting Law violation, the Board of Health will repeat its tobacco permit cap public hearing. 
The board voted Wednesday to repeat the hearing after being informed that there was the potential of a complaint.
"I think the main purpose of a public hearing is to make sure we hear public comment before we make a decision," board member Laura Grandchamp said. "There is a potential that that didn't happen for everybody at that meeting." 
On Aug. 13, the Board of Health adopted the new tobacco permit cap that would tie the number of permits allowed in town to the town's population.
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