Adams Officials Review Preliminary $16.7M Town Budget for FY23

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — Adams officials reviewed the estimated $16,723,182 fiscal 2023 town budget in a joint meeting between the Finance Committee and the Board of Selectmen,

The boards conducted their first meeting of the budget cycle on Thursday at the Adams Visitor Center. Town Administrator Jay Green said Adams had approximately $1 million in free cash, $500,000 of which the town plans to save for future use.

"Five-hundred thousand of that stays. That's always our policy," Green said. "Half that money stays; we don't touch it."

Of the remaining $500,000, the town plans to use $250,000 to offset the tax rate and $250,000 to fund several smaller projects. These include $100,000 for public building improvements, $50,000 to fund furniture costs at the Greylock Glen Outdoor Center, $30,000 for Department of Public Works equipment and $20,000 for a new facilities management vehicle.

"This is kind of the part that we always enjoy the most. But it's also the hardest because you can't fund everything the department heads want or that we want," Green said.

The town's proposed tax levy for the budget is $12,285,128, $566,597 below the estimated levy limit. The estimated single-family tax bill is $3,608, a $208.50 increase from this year, but Board of Selectmen Chair John Duval explained this estimate should decrease once the town's new growth revenue is known.

The estimated new growth is $25,000, but Green said this number is a conservative estimate Adams uses every year, and the final number is likely to be much higher.

"That conversation happens in August and September, when the assessor presents to the Selectmen what the committee tax rate is going to be," he said. "And then whether or not the Selectmen decide to actually ship some of that over to the commercial side rather than having single tax rates. So that's where that conversation really happens in terms of what that new growth number is."

One change that may come in the future, according to Green, is with the billing cycle.

"Adams still bills its taxes twice a year. Most communities go quarterly," he said. "We've had this conversation with the [state] Department of Revenue, we've had this conversation with our auditor, and they have all recommended that, eventually, Adams adopt a quarterly tax billing system."

Green said Adams likely has tough decisions to make in the future because of growing economic uncertainty. He said the town tried to be fiscally conservative with this year's budget and did not have to use any surplus funds for the operating budget.

"Adams is living within its means and within the parameters of Proposition 2 1/2," he said. "Despite an era of increasing costs, the town of Adams remains committed to our goals of providing efficient town services and creating an environment for positive economic development that will result in growing the tax base while building and maintaining stable reserves."

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Cheshire Festival of Trees Opens in Community House

Staff ReportsiBerkshires

See more photos of the Festival of Trees opening here
CHESHIRE, Mass. — The town's decorated its new quarters in the former school with more than three dozen Christmas trees and wreaths. 
The first annal Festival of Trees features trees and wreaths decorated by town departments, businesses and local organizations. All the trees came from Whitney's Farm Market & Garden Center and were decorated with creativity by the participants. 
They ranged from a Canadian goose-feathered tree by the Hoosac Lake District, automotive designs from Bedard Bros., twinkling ornaments from Cheshire Glassworks, a Hurricanes Pride tree, a cheese-topped entry by the Cheshire Historical Commission, along with pickleballs, logging, trash pandas, cooking supplies, and numerous outdoors-themed firs. 
The town's departments and services weren't to be outdone, with a the Highway Department's caution tree, a crispy entry from the Fire Department, a Grinch in police handcuffs and a burst water main.  
The festival opened on Sunday evening with a visit from Santa Claus, cookies and hot cocoa, and holiday music. 
The trees can be viewed at the Community House through Dec. 31 on Monday through Thursday from 10 to 4, on Fridays until 9, Saturdays from 6 to 9 and Sundays from noon to 9. 
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