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The town is planning to eliminate stickers in favor of tags that can be placed on rearview mirrors for easier visibility.

Adams Increases Transfer Station, Cemetery Fees

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — It's going to cost a little more to get buried or take out the trash this year. 
The Selectmen last week voted to raise fees at the transfer station and to implement cemetery fees first proposed two years ago. 
Beginning July 1, transfer station permits will be $100 and bag tags will be $1.60, or five for $8. Five bag tags will also be included in the purchase of a permit and the cost of a second or replaced permit will remain at $10. 
This is the first increase in three years, when the permit was set at $75 and bags at a $1.20.
"We would not be recommending this figure if we didn't think it was necessary," said Town Administrator Jay Green.
Green said the increase in fees was to offset the rising costs for the removal of materials and the need to make the transfer station more self-sustaining. It's funded by the fees that go into the revolving account and the annual budget. 
"The transfer station is still subsidized by a certain amount of money in our budget, we budget for about $25,000," he said. "If the revolving fund cannot support the functions of the facility, we go into that budget item number. Right now we've only gone into it about $8,000 to $10,000. ...
"If we can get a good balance of users with a reasonable permit fee, it will pay for itself and we'll never have to use that budget line item and it comes off the tax rate." 
It costs about $75,000 a year to operate the residential transfer station and about $25,000 for the member cost to the Northern Berkshire Solid Waste District, which contracts with Casella Waste System for its 13 communities. The average annual material removal costs for Adams is approximately $65,000, which is calculated by the number of containers and the total weight by ton. 
The transfer station had been operating at a slight deficit the last few years but now the town's dipping deeper into the budgeted line item to cover it. And Casella is expected to increase its prices this year; per its contract, it can raise costs by 5.4 percent. 
"The more people who use the facility, the more people who deposit waste, that number goes up because we're pulling out more containers and we're processing more material," Green said.
The town sold 590 permits and 77 replacement/extra permits in fiscal 2023 for a total of $45,020 and 10,365 bag tags at $12,762, for a total of $57,782. The projected revenue with the new fees would be $76,786 for an average yearly cost to users of $266.
"It's fair to say that the transfer station and waste removal operations of the town is about $100,000 a year and we've only been bringing in just under $60,000," said Green,
The town will also crack down on unpermitted usage by changing the way permits are displayed. There have been numerous instances of residents not affixing their stickers to their vehicles and telling the attendant they "forgot it." Now, users will have a card that can hang from their rearview mirrors when they enter the facility and be removed when not in use. It will be color coded to year and have the license number of the vehicle on it. 
"As a reminder, the folks who use the transfer station pay for the removal of the material from the facility," the town administrator said. "And folks in Adams who may not use the facility, there is a portion of that facility subsidized by your real estate tax. The idea of the permit fee and having a check by the attendant is to make sure that people from Adams are actually using the facility and have paid for the permit.    
"That is the point. It is not there for aggravation purposes or to annoy people. And the attendant really doesn't want to have to do it."
The board also discussed the potential for composting with town's waste district representatives Edward Driscoll and John Pitroff. Organic waste takes up more than half the tonnage the town produces.  
The new cemetery fees are based on a presentation made by Cemetery Commissioner Bruce Shepley in 2021. The increases range from $450 to $500 for the cost of a single lot for residents; a jump from $250 to $400 for cremation burials for residents; and an increase from $750 to $900 for a single non-resident perpetual care fee. 
These fees had not changed since 2015. 
Green said, again, that the goal is to reduce the Cemetery Department's reliance on taxpayers and to raise more revenue for capital projects, including the replacement of the water system at Bellevue. The town has access to about $36,000 in interest from the perpetual care account, $300,000 in the investment/sale of lots account and $15,000 in the cemetery maintenance fund through a town meeting appropriation. Another nearly $40,000 in three accounts are available only for care of specific mausoleums. 
In other business:
The board approved an entertainment license for the Berkshire Mountain Faerie Festival to be held Saturday, June 17, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sarah Rose Miller introduced herself as this year's director and told the board there will be a full docket of entertainment, including vendors, music, an archery demonstration, and the fire people. It also gave the OK for lawn signs promoting the festival on town land, through the town administrator's office.
• Joe Martin, who is heading up the Memorial Day Parade, said it is scheduled to kick off at 10 a.m. on May 29. Martin said he'd tried to get hold of the Berkshire Highlanders but has gotten no response and other pipe bands are already booked. The Hoosac Valley High band will be marching.
• The board thanked Jay Mezcywor for the Northern Berkshire Events Committee's spring cleanup. He said there were more 30 volunteers including committee and Adams Beautiful members. Mezcywor said some 67 bags of compost and garbage was collected and then picked up by the Department of Public Works.
• The board approved a one-year weekly (Monday-Saturday) entertainment license for 57 Park Street; owner Leah King has said she plans to offer music from 5 to 8 p.m. on occasional Saturdays through the summer.
• The board approved a Sunday entertainment license for the Adams Theater for three specific dates: June 4, July 2 and Oct. 8, all after 1 p.m.; Berkshire Cider Project for a one-day wine and malt license for Friday, June 2, from 6:30 to 10 p.m. at the Adams Theater, and David Nicholas of Bounti-Fare for a one-day wine and malt license at the theater for Saturday, June 3, from 4 to 10. 
Town officials said the theater had indicated interest in obtaining an alcohol license but the structure is still under construction so has held off for now. 

Tags: cemetery commission,   fees,   transfer station,   

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Veterans Make Memorial Day Trek to War Memorial

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff

Retired Navy Petty Officer Cindy Lacoste speaks at Sunday's Memorial Day observance.
ADAMS, Mass. — North County American Legion members made their way to the summit of Mount Greylock early on Sunday morning for their 89th pilgrimage to the state's War Memorial.
Speaker Cindy Lacoste, a retired petty officer with 22 years serving in the Navy and current member of the Department of Massachusetts Executive Committee of Women of the American Legion, spoke and recalled memories of fallen veterans.
"Memorial Day brings up so many memories to me, and I'm sure it does to you," she said. "But in 2003, I was deployed to the Middle East not knowing if I was going to make it back home. So the fact that I did, obviously, I'm forever grateful, and I want to make sure that I never forget the stories of those that didn't come back."
She recalled the story of a young soldier, Cindy Bowden, who was a freshman attending the University of Connecticut during the Gulf War.
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