ADAMS, Mass. — The Selectmen received an update on the town's hydrant system that Water Superintendent John Barrett said is in good shape.
"They are in excellent shape, to be honest," John Barrett said Wednesday. "We don't have any problems."
Chairwoman Christine Hoyt said she asked Barrett to come before the board after non-working hydrants created challenges for North Adams firefighters in two winter structure fires this year.
"This seems to be a topic in some of our neighboring communities," she said. "We thought it would be a good reminder of the health of some of our own infrastructure."
North Adams has 631 fire hydrants of which more than 500 are fully functional. Around 55 need to be fully replaced and another 3 that were repaired, according to updated numbers given on Wednesday.
Barrett said Adams has about 367 hydrants with only two out of service, one at the Melrose Street intersection and another in front of 45 Columbia St. He said there are active hydrants within 50 feet of both of these.
Barrett said his department has a replacement program and allocates funds to replace eight to 10 hydrants a year. He said they actually plan to replace the Melrose Street hydrant this summer.
He said this replacement plan can be found in the Water District's annual report.
Barrett said hydrants are inspected and maintained after use and that each hydrant gets inspected twice a year.
He said there are 20 to 25 hydrants in town that are private. Although these are not part of the water district's system, the Fire Department does account for them, he said.
The board members thanked Barrett for joining them on a busy night for the water district. Hoyt said there was an active water main break on Howland Avenue.
Barrett said the water suppression system at 173 Howland Ave. froze and ruptured at about 4 p.m. He said they attempted to shut the gate, owned by the property owner, but the gate blew up.
"It has blown apart and there is no other way to fix it," he said.
He said another gate had to be shut and this affected the water system in the area. He said he expects work to conclude Wednesday night but noted testing would still have to take place.
In other business, the Selectmen ratified the hiring of Crystal Wojcik as the town accountant/finance director to replace longtime Accountant Mary Beverly who is retiring
"I am excited to be the person ratified for the role," she said. "I have really learned so much in my first week ... and I have truly grown to love working with a small town and community."
Green said Wojcik, a Hoosac Valley High School graduate, has been working for the town as a financial assistant. She is currently attending Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, where she will earn a bachelor's degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting and dual minors in leadership and economics this May.
She will start in a part-time capacity and take on the full-time position upon graduation. Beverley has agreed to stay on to help with the transition.
"I don't have to tell you how critical this position is," Green said. "Accounting and finances touches just about everything we do so this is an important position."
He said he was excited to see a younger generation getting involved in government. Selectman John Duval added that it was exciting to see someone who went through the local school system find success and stay in the area.
Selectman Joseph Nowak, a frequent substitute teacher, said he knows personally how bright Wojcik is.
"She was a top-notch student at the school and there was no doubt about it," Nowak said. "So best of luck kiddo."
Hoyt also congratulated Wojcik and said she hoped she was ready for budget season.
"I am already in the middle of it," Wojcik said.
The Selectmen appointed Aaron Girgenti to the Zoning Board of Appeals and Emily Stockman as the wetlands consultant to the Conservation Commission as a special municipal employee.
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Increased COVID-19 Cases Cause Adams to Slip Back Into Red
By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass.— Board of Health Chairman David Rhoads is urging residents to stay vigilant as Adams slips into the red level designation for COVID-19.
"It is always disheartening to convey bad news, but we are in the red here in Adams," Rhoads said at the Selectmen's meeting Wednesday. "We are definitely in a surge."
Rhoads said the town has been reporting a new case every day for the past three weeks.
Rhoads spoke directly to residents over livestreamed meeting and asked them to continue adhering to hygiene and social distancing guidelines to stop the spread, especially now that more aggressive variants have touched down in Berkshire County.