Adams Building Commissioner Calls for More Building Maintenance Money at Budget Meeting

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — Building Commissioner Gerald Garner said Adams needs to put more money toward public building maintenance at last week's joint-budget meeting with the Finance Committee and the Board of Selectmen.

"We need, desperately, to start maintaining our buildings. What I'm seeing in these buildings is kind of appalling. There's only so much Duct tape in the world and Adams actually cornered the market on it," he said.

Town Administrator Jay Green reiterated the town's plan to create a new public buildings department to manage town facilities. He said Garner will become director of the new department as part of this.

"Jerry's also been shepherding and spearheading a lot of our public building repairs since last summer, and he's graciously volunteered to continue in that role and begin to formulate that new department," he said.

The town's has a capital budget of $100,000 for general building maintenance. Garner said this funding should allow Adams to fix several issues with its public buildings.

"We need to start replacing things more efficiently," he said. "We need to get more things done on these buildings because we're going to end up losing them."

One part of the inspection services budget discussed was a part-time assistant building inspector position. An assistant building inspector, Garner said, should help keep the department on track.

"I find that I fall behind on one area, and then I get ahead in another, and then I fall behind in that one. So I just need a little help to keep the building department going by doing some of the more simple tasks," he said.

Garner said there is also funding in the Town Hall budget for a new alarm system, the same system the Adams Visitor Center and the former Memorial School Building use. He said the hope is to have a consistent alarm system throughout Adams.

"It's turned out to be a very good system ... When the alarm goes off here, [Council on Aging Director Sarah Fontaine] would get a call from for this building and I would get a call to this building so that someone would show up. Also the police department is notified," he said.

The boards also heard a presentation from Police Chief K. Scott Kelley and Officer Joshua Baker on the Police Department budget. Kelley said some considerable costs for the department include fuel, tires, ammunition and training.

"I think a lot of this stuff goes without saying with everything that we've experienced over the last year," he said. "Everybody's heard of the supply chain stuff, the cost of everything. Even what we have going on overseas obviously breakfast fuel."

Kelley thanked the board for a new cruiser the committee approved for the department last year, noting he will likely ask for more vehicle funds next year.

Kelley said the budget accounts for more training for officers and wants the department to be doing training more frequently. The department, he said, conducts several training programs, including de-escalation. The department has also begun using more non-lethal force options.

"The one thing, as a chief of police, that I never want to happen is that my officers say that they didn't have enough training," he said. "And that is a legitimate thing, that's called failure to train. This is an easy fix. Training is easy; I just need the ability to do it. I couldn't have asked for a better department because I came in, and I got a bunch of young officers that want to do this. That want to learn."

Tags: adams_budget,   fiscal 2023,   

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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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