ADAMS, Mass. — The Finance Committee and the Select board reviewed the proposed Finance and Technology, Executive, and General Government budgets last week.
In the second joint budget session of the fiscal 2022 budget cycle, the two bodies on Thursday addressed the first portion of the proposed spending plan of $16.4 million in person at the Memorial Building
Much of the discussion centered around the proposed General Government budget of $1,080,459 that decreased almost $40,000
The most substantial change in this section of the budget was for elections. The town reduced its proposed expenditures from $34,300 to $20,000, a decrease of around 42 percent. This decrease reflects that there is only one election in fiscal 2022.
This lead to a discussion on tax collection, and the committees discussed the frequency of tax collection for the town.
Town Administrator Jay Green explained that Adams has an antiquated tax system because it collects taxes twice per year.
Among other inconveniences, this forces the town to pay the retirement assessment, which in this budget totals just shy of $1,000,000, at the end of the year. The Retirement Board penalizes the town to the tune of $60,000 because the payment is technically due at the end of July.
Green expressed interest in switching the tax collection to every quarter but said the change must go through the town meeting process.
Conversation returned to the tax collection throughout the meeting.
Treasurer/Tax Collector Kelly Rice, when questioned about the process, noted that sending out quarterly bills would double the cost of postage compared to distributing two bills per year but would save costs elsewhere.
Green said Adams would borrow this approach from other communities, like Pittsfield, so that they would not be "reinventing the wheel."
Finance Committee members expressed concern that Adams residents may forget that their tax bill is due on the off-quarters when they have received their bills the previous quarter.
Rice said the town would advertise repeatedly for the first few years to ensure this did not happen.
Green also discussed a court judgment regarding worker's compensation, a case that stems from the 1970s. This court case resulted in an $86,392 payment due immediately.
"As usual, those things never happen at a convenient time," Green said.
The town will pull this cost from free cash.
The first budget on the agenda was the largely unchanged Executive budget of $283,073.
There were also few changes in the Finance and Technology budget of $2,078,826 that increased just over $57,000. This was mostly driven by a $73,477 increase in employee/retiree benefits over this fiscal year. Some decreases in this budget plus an 11 percent increase in insurance costs bring the total increase to $57,346.
The budget meeting opened with Board of Selectman Chairwoman Christine Hoyt requesting a moment of silence for slain Capitol Police Officer William "Billy" Evans, who was laid to rest Thursday in Bellevue Cemetery.
Green said the Evans family was "incredibly touched by the outpouring of support" they received from the town of Adams. Green expressed gratitude that "we were able to send a national hero to his rest."