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Adams Council on Aging Hopes to Move to Memorial Building This Month

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — As the renovation of the former Memorial School Building nears completion, the Adams Council on Aging hopes to start moving its operations into it by the end of the month.

"Right now, it's more just clean up to get us over there. So we are hopeful to be there by the end of January," said Council on Aging Director Sarah Fontaine during Monday's board meeting.

Fontaine said work in the former Memorial School building is ongoing and nearing a point where the COA can operate there. Selectmen Chairman John Duval, Vice Chairwoman Christine and Town Administrator Jay Green were in attendance.

Fontaine visited the building the week before Christmas and said new flooring was in the process of installation, with ductwork fully complete. While there is not a set date currently, she said the goal is to have this work done begin moving in during the month.

One thing which will not be complete before moving in, according to Fontaine, is all of the bathrooms for the facility. While there are several bathrooms throughout the facility, there is only one handicap-accessible bathroom, with more to be made later.

"The goal is to make the locker room area several stalls of bathrooms," she said. "That won't be done for us to move in, but that will be an ongoing project, probably when we need it. There are other bathrooms throughout the building for us to be able to use, but just the one handicap accessible one at the front of the building."

Fontaine said they need to spend some money on new furnishings and equipment. Despite this, she said much of the furniture used in the current COA space, located in the Adams Visitor Center at 3 Hoosac St., can be kept and moved to the new facility.

"I think a lot of our office furniture is still in good condition," she said. "We're just going to move it over to the new space as long as it fits and can get through the doors."

Two significant needs, Fontaine said, are cabinets and kitchen equipment like silverware and plates. She said there is donation money that was set aside explicitly for cabinets.

"We don't have a lot of storage cabinets," she said. "So we're gonna need a lot of cabinets for storage in the event spaces and round tables for the space for lunches and events."

Green said one advantage of the move to the Memorial Building could allow the COA to expand to help service more communities in the county. The COA entered a one-year Council on Aging agreement with Savoy in November.

"We'd love to crack a few other communities," he said. "That's one of the reasons why we like Memorial, is we think we've got the ability to host there down the road. So that's kind of a future goal."

Fontaine said she is hopeful the council can expand its programming in the new building. She explained the extent of new programming depends on how they can use the space.

"The goal is to get us in there with our existing programming first, see what the space is like and how we can use it," she said. "And then Barbara [Proper] and I can work together on additional programming."

Tags: COA,   memorial building,   

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Adams Selectmen, Finance Committee OK 2022 Town Meeting Warrant

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff

ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee have approved the 26 warrant articles to be put forward at the June 21 annual town meeting. 

Two articles are related to the development of the Greylock Glen and another would update the town's cannabis bylaws. 


Article 22 would appropriate $80,000 from the Economic Development Fund to hire a consultant for the Greylock Glen Foundation. This consultant will establish the foundation, fundraise from the private sector and work on other projects. 


Article 24 would authorize the Board of Selectmen to purchase property along Gould Road for $100,000. The 1.2-acre plot of land, according to Town Administrator Jay Green, will benefit the town's future development plans if voters approve the purchase. 


"We just realized that that's a parcel that's a key entryway to the area that we're spending a lot of time, resources and energy on, and it's something that we should probably take control of," he said.


The Greylock Glen Outdoor Center, for which the town just received another $2.9 million in state aid, is expected to begin construction in late June. 


Articles 5, 6 and 7 cover sections of the town's $17 million budget, including operational, capital and free-cash expenses. Articles 8 and 9 are the budgets for the Hoosac Valley and Northern Berkshire Vocational school regional school districts. 


Article 25 would authorize the sale of 20 East St., the former Community Center, to Robert Hinton of CMV Construction for $25,000. CMV, the lone bidder on a request for proposals for the property, plans to turn the building into apartments


Article 21, if approved, would appropriate $5,000 from the Quaker Meeting House fund to perform repairs and inspection. The current balance of the fund is $10,602.70


Article 23, if approved by a majority vote, will establish an enterprise fund for the town's sewer system. 


"This is not a sewer user fee. I just want to make that very clear," Green said. "It is simply accepting the provisions to use an enterprise fund, it'd still be funded via tax levy. Over the next year, I think we as a community will be having a conversation about how we fund the enterprise fund,"


Article 10 proposes the town put $250,000 of free cash toward lowering the tax rate. Green said this is part of the town's internal fiscal policy but is something he hopes to change in the future, noting this money could instead go toward road and building maintenance. 


"So all the work that we've talked about: roads and buildings and every other thing that seems to fall apart around here; that would have been another 250,000. That would have been half a million dollars worth of capital programming that could have been done," he said. 


Article 11, if approved, will add $62,000 to the town's stabilization fund. 


Article 20 would update the town's marijuana bylaw to allow cannabis businesses to offer courier services. Selectwoman Christine Hoyt thanked the Planning Board and others involved with updating the bylaw. 


Articles 1 through 4 are annual articles that handle filling town officer vacancies, hearing reports from town officers and fixing compensation. Article 19 would amend the town compensation plan, giving town employees a 2 percent increase over fiscal 2022. 


Selectman Joseph Nowak said he would like to see compensation for the Board of Selectmen and other town boards to be raised. 


"I think people who are willing to serve should get something worth their time. Perhaps that's maybe a small reason why we don't see people running for elected positions in this community and in other places," he said. 


Hoyt said the town lowered the stipends during the 2020 budget cycle to save money. Board Chair John Duval said he would be willing to discuss changing compensation. 


Article 16, if approved, will allow the town to accept $7,200 in perpetual care funds received in 2021 for the care and maintenance of cemetery lots. The town treasurer will manage these funds. 


Article 12, another annual article, will establish a $175,000 reserve fund if approved. This fund, which only the Finance Committee can access, would be used in emergencies for unforeseen expenses. 


Article 14 would allow the Board of Selectmen to apply for Community Development Block Grants. Similarly, Article 15 authorizes the board to apply for Community Facilities Grants. 


Article 17 authorizes the town treasurer to borrow with Board of Selectmen approval if there is a revenue shortfall; Article 18 establishes the spending limits for the town's revolving fund accounts and Article 13 would allow the town to pay any unpaid bills from the current or prior fiscal years. Adams currently has no outstanding bills. 


Article 26 will allow the town to conduct any business that may legally come before the meeting. 

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