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Adams Considers Reducing Size of Finance Committee

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — After a vote by the General Government Review Committee, residents may soon have the chance to vote to reduce the size of the Finance Committee from 15 to nine. 

The committee voted Tuesday to suggest the Board of Selectmen add the change to a special town meeting warrant. Town Administrator Jay Green said there should be a special town meeting sometime in mid-November. 
"We don't want to miss the opportunity to put something else in front of town meeting that can be cleaned up or modified," said Green. "... I think everyone's reached a consensus, from my sitting here observing, that everyone feels it's reasonable to reduce the number." 
Additionally, the group recommended changing the date Finance Committee members are appointed to June 30 and removing a provision allowing the town moderator to remove members older than 70 years. The changes to the Finance Committee can come via bylaw, unlike many other topics the group has discussed related to the town charter. 
"It's getting tough [to find enough members]," said committee member Timothy Burdick, who is also vice chair of the Finance Committee. "It's not like they're lining up to fill the 15 spots." 
Bernard Lynch, a consultant from Community Paradigm Associates working with the committee on the charter review, said there are advantages and disadvantages to making the change now, as opposed to waiting. 
"The advantage, perhaps, of doing it now is that it might address some current issues with the membership level," he said. "And it might be a reminder to the town meeting members that this committee is meeting and spending a lot of time going through and discussing these topics." 
The group also discussed the mode by which the number is brought down to nine, deciding that appointments will be allowed to expire until the number is reduced to nine. 
In other business, the committee discussed topics related to executive functions of town government. The group intends to discuss the issues in more detail at its next meeting. 
"I thought today would be a good time to talk about what's the theoretical basis of the form of government that you have," Lynch said. 
Several committee members suggested the group hear the opinions of the Board of Selectmen and the town administrator before having an in-depth discussion. The group formed a subcommittee to individually speak with each of them. 
"Personally, I don't feel like I can make a judgment without more feedback on how people feel the system is working," said member Virginia Duval. 

Tags: charter review,   Finance Committee,   

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Adams Parks Commission Considering Options for Renfrew Bleachers

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff

ADAMS, Mass. — The Parks Commission is looking for solutions for the bleachers at Renfrew Field, after debate over their arrangement on the field in recent months. 


Currently, three sets of bleachers are on the south side of the field, when in previous years, two were on the south side, with two on the north. The bleachers had been arranged that way over the summer, something the board voiced support for in July


The commission's previous meeting had a larger-than-normal audience to give input on the issue, after the board received a letter from the Adams Cheshire Youth Football League expressing confusion from parents, coaches and others over the change. Commission co-Chair Jacob Schutz said he and others have since looked into portable bleachers, which can move without the need for heavy machinery. 


"We looked out there, and the first thing we found is they are very expensive," he said. "Twenty-five thousand dollars on average, and we'd probably need at least two for one side to match something like what we had." 


Town staff has explained that constantly moving the heavy bleachers and equipment around the field can cause wear on the field. Equipment operator Mark Pizani said they have installed tires on the current bleachers to move them, which requires a loader to lift the bleachers and pull them to where they need to go on the field. 


"If something like this was permanent and didn't have to be taken apart, and you could just do it, we could push them or pull them with something smaller," he said. 


Commission Co-Chair James Fassell was not present for the meeting but had previously suggested moving one set of bleachers from the southeast side of the field to the southwest side. He had expressed concerns at the previous meeting about emergency vehicles and accessibility with the current placement. 


Pizani explained that this is not a viable option because of banking on the west side of the field, which would prevent the bleachers from being level. 


"You would have to actually dig into the ground, and there's underground wires there," he said. "It's really just not feasible." 


Selectman Joseph Nowak suggested that the commission reach out to the Adams Agricultural Fair to use their bleachers, which he said are lightweight and made of aluminum. He said it would benefit elderly spectators, so they don't have to walk as far, and would get them through the rest of the season. 


Schutz said he does not feel the board has the authority to tell the leagues which side of the field they use as the home side. He said the high school and the leagues that use the field should decide for themselves which side they want to use. 


In other business, the group was updated on the new shed at Valley Street Field. Pizani said the shed looks fantastic the students from McCann Technical School who put it together did a good job. 


"They sent me a text thanking us for considering them [to build the shed] and letting the kids do it. That's a great thing," he said. 


Schutz suggested that the board write a letter thanking the students for building the shed.

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