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North Adams Council OKs Hydrant Ordinance, Property Sales

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A single line added to the city ordinances seems to have solved the debate over fire hydrant responsibility.
 
City Councilor Lisa Blackmer offered language that added the line "The construction, alteration, repair and care of public fire hydrants" to the list of duties and responsibilities of the commissioner of public services.
 
"We want to have this codified, we want to know who is taking care of the fire hydrants," she said at Tuesday's council meeting. "I thought since we have an ordinance that talks about the department of public services, and the powers and duties generally of the commissioner and it talks about the streets, and it talks about the veterans, talks about the sewer and it talks about the library ... It is codified, it's there. If there's any question in the future if it belong where it belongs."
 
A more detailed ordinance had been introduced by Councilor Jason LaForest after two fires highlighted faulty fireplugs throughout the city.
 
The measure would have created a fire hydrant division, required twice a year inspections, and set a time limit for reporting to multiple entities of any out-of-service fireplugs. The city solicitor advised against some of its aspects. Councilors voted against the proposal, since there were already procedures in place and they were voting on a plan to fix the hydrants.
 
"I had supported Councilor LaForest's ordinance exchange," said Councilor Marie T. Harpin. "I think his objective was to do the same thing, it's just to put some responsibility somewhere, so I will support this as well."
 
There was some discussion about sending the change to the General Government Committee but it was decided the issue had been debated extensively and the language merely confirmed an existing fact. 
 
The vote was unanimous, with LaForest absent.
 
The council also approved the disposition of four properties and four old police vehicles.
 
The land on Brooklyn, East Quincy and Reed Streets, and Reservoir Road are all conforming lots with no buildings. In the case of Reed, it is five contiguous lots sold as one.
 
"We believe that there is an opportunity to do a bigger auction later this spring," said Mayor Thomas Bernard. "We're looking at probably something at this time on the order of, you know 30 to 40 properties. We're still finalizing that list."
 
Last fall's public auction brought in about $127,000.
 
The vehicles — a 2002 Ford Explorer, 2006 Chevrolet Impala, 2009 Dodge Charger and 2010 Dodge Charger — are all in poor condition and taking up space, the mayor said. They will be listed on a third-party auction platform; buyers are responsible for fees and pickup.
 
In other business:
 
A council rule requiring committees to have their Zoom meetings posted on the Northern Berkshire Community Television website was approved. Submitted by Harpin, councilors were in favor of the idea but raised concerns over who would actually be responsible for video transmissions. It passed with that question not fully answered although Bernard thought it should be staff issue and not up to committee or council members.
 
• Carol Colantuono was confirmed to the Board of Registrars for a term to expire April 1, 2024.
 
• A lingering communication from Councilor Keith Bona about the dormant Youth Commission was referred to General Government in an effort to get things moving. Councilors noted there were projects coming up that needed commission input.
 
• The council voted a second time to authorize the borrowing of $300,000 for fire hydrant repair. The first vote was voice; Council President Paul Hopkins requested a roll call vote to make sure it was done correctly.
 
• The council said goodbye to City Clerk Deborah Pedercini, who is leaving for a position in Lee. Her replacement starts in April.
 
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What should you expect from your investments?

Submitted by Edward Jones

To help achieve your financial goals, you may need to invest in the financial markets throughout your life. However, at times your investment expectations may differ from actual returns, triggering a variety of emotions. So, what are reasonable expectations to have about your investments?

Ideally, you hope that your investment portfolio will eventually help you meet your goals, both your short-term ones, such as a cross-country vacation, and the long-term ones, such as a comfortable retirement. But your expectations may be affected by several factors, including the following:

  • Misunderstanding – Various factors in the economy and the financial markets trigger different reactions in different types of investments — so you should expect different results. When you own stocks, you can generally expect greater price volatility in the short term. Over time, though, the "up" and "down" years tend to average out. When you own bonds, you can expect less volatility than individual stocks, but that’s not to say that bond prices never change. Generally, when interest rates rise, you can anticipate that the value of your existing, lower-paying bonds may decrease, and when rates fall, the value of your bonds may increase.  
  • Recency bias – Investors exhibit "recency bias" when they place too much emphasis on recent events in the financial markets, expecting that those same events will happen again. But these expectations can lead to negative behavior. For example, in 2018, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell almost 6percent – so investors subject to recency bias might have concluded it was best to stay out of the markets for a while. But the Dow jumped more than 22percent the very next year. Of course, the reverse can also be true: In 2021, the Dow rose almost 19 percent , so investors who might have been susceptible to recency bias may have thought they were in for more big gains right away — but in 2022, the Dow fell almost 9percent . Here’s the bottom line: Recency bias may cloud your expectations about your investments’ performance — and it’s essentially impossible to predict accurately what will happen to the financial markets in any given year.
  • Anchoring – Another type of investment behavior is known as "anchoring" — an excessive reliance on your original conviction in an investment. So, for instance, if you bought stock in a company you thought had great prospects, you might want to keep your shares year after year, even after evidence emerges that the company has real risks — for example, poor management, or its products could become outdated, or it could be part of an industry that’s in decline. But if you stick with your initial belief that the company will inevitably do well, and you’re not open to new sources of information about this investment, your expectations may never be met.

In many areas of life, reality may differ from our expectations — and that can certainly be true for our investments. Being familiar with the factors that can shape your expectations can help you maintain a realistic outlook about your investments

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones financial advisor. Courtesy of Rob Adams, 71 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247, 413-664-9253.. Edward Jones, its employees and financial advisors cannot provide tax or legal advice. You should consult your attorney or qualified tax advisor regarding your situation. For more information, see This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones financial advisor. Courtesy of Rob Adams, 71 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247, 413-664-9253.. Edward Jones, its employees and financial advisors cannot provide tax or legal advice. You should consult your attorney or qualified tax advisor regarding your situation. For more information go to www.edwardjones.com/rob-adams.

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